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Jahangir2

Till then a sign of indentured service to a master, ear-piercing becomes a trend when Jahangir has his done

KHWAJA MOINNUDIN CHISTI is his spiritual patron and Jahangir undertakes pilgrimages to Ajmer whenever he can. On one of his most recent visits he experiences a serious health relapse that takes a turn for the worse. He prays to his Khwaja and stages a quick recovery that takes his doctors by surprise. Once he has fully recovered, he has his ears pierced as a sign that he is a ‘ear-bored slave’ of his patron, and wears pearl earrings. In a matter of a few months, pearl earrings are in high demand among men of rank and fashionistas.

However he also seeks out the wisdom of gurus of the age like Miyan Mir, the Sufi saint to whom Nur Jahan is particularly devoted. Jahangir has special affection for the Vaishanavite yogi by the name of Jadrup. Jahangir has his retinue stop at a distance, while he proceeds on foot, to a hole in the hillside to convene with this esteemed hermit who lives there. In his own words, Jahangir describes the ascetic as being one of ‘unusual grace, a lofty understanding, an exalted nature and keen intellectual powers’.

Back at the palace, Nur Jahan has been spending time in a private studio with weavers and artists, discussing new carpet patterns. She has been seeing quite a few examples of English art and needlework and thinks on the whole, their work is easily surpassed, while they also suggest new boundaries of design. In fact for some years now, the East India Company has been sending carpets from Lahore to England where they are in high demand, and being used, curiously enough, as table coverings.

carpet

Carpets sent to England are sometimes used as table coverings in the early stages of their introduction. Late 16th to early 17th Century Mughal Carpet (Image courtesy: metmuseum.org)

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