Click here to skip to content

Kandahar Lady of Rank, Engaged in Smoking

Kandahar Lady of Rank, Engaged in Smoking

Artist: Carrick, Robert C (fl. mid-19th century), after R

Medium: Lithograph, coloured

Date: 1848

Shelfmark: X562(29)

Item number: Plate 29

Length: 27

Width: 36.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Print

This lithograph was taken from plate 29 of 'Afghaunistan' by Lieutenant James Rattray.

Rattray does not tell us much about the subject of this portrait, Begum Jan, other than her status as a 'lady of rank' in Kandahar. He writes: "Many of these Afghan ladies have rendered their names celebrated in history by their conjugal attachment and devotion to the cause they supported." He gives as an example Shah Shujah's favourite wife, Wafadar Begum, who was immortalised in prose by Alexander Burnes after courageously rescuing him from imprisonment by the Sikh ruler Ranjeet Singh.

Rattray also wrote of the brave widow of Akram Khan, who was a powerful chief of Zamindawar to the south of Kandahar. When Khan was executed for refusing to tender allegiance to Shah Shuja in 1842, his widow threw off her burkha and led his tribe to battle astride her husband's horse. After a desperate struggle she was driven back. Rattray wrote: "A cause so just and a devotion so noble, merited a more successful termination."

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites


Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: