On the second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel of John Chapter 4: 5-42 focuses on the Samaritan woman on the well. Today’s art section features a Mughal miniature illustration featured in the book Mirat- ul- kud which was written in Persian by the Jesuit, Fr Jerome Xavier, the grand nephew of St Francis Xavier who wrote for Akbar and Salim, on the life of Jesus
The contribution of the Great Mughals to art, history and culture goes way beyond the majestic grandeur of the Taj Mahal and its romantic fantasy. Equally enticing was the contribution of the Mughals to miniature paintings. One such example is depicted above. If you snoop about the CHRISTian theme of this Mughal painting you will realise that it does serve as an alley to transport you into the Mughal field wherein religion, politics, culture, society and art were at play.
Reminiscing the Gospel passage of John, Chapter 4: 5 – 42, the painting illustrates the moment when Jesus was conversing with the Samaritan woman and his disciples come back from the city, amazed that he was publically speaking to a woman who was a Gentile. This painting was used to illustrate the Mir’atu l-quds or The Mirror of Holiness, a biography of Jesus in Persian, offered to Emperor Akbar and Prince Salim (later Jehangir) by Fr. Jerome Xavier, the grand nephew of St. Francis Xavier, the apostle of the Orient.