Diwan-i-Khas, Delhi Fort
Early 20th century
Relief Map

This ivory painting of the Diwan-i-Khas at the Delhi Fort was made by an artist named U.H. Sharif Husein Khan. It was acquired by the Museum in 1929. Diwan-i-khas was the hall of private audiences where Mughal emperors met with courtiers and state guests.

Miniature paintings on ivory were a popular art form in the Indian subcontinent. Thin translucent sheets of ivory were roughened and de-greased to make the surface retain paint. They were then bleached in the sun to make them whiter and the colours were made stickier by adding a binding material. George Birdwood, one of the Museum’s earliest curators, notes that painting on ivory was coveted by both the Indian and European elites.