A Nautch in the Palace of the Ameer of Sind
Artist: Wilson, Horace H
This is plate four from HH Wilson's 'The Oriental Portfolio'. The view is based on drawings made by Captain Melville Grindlay of an interview between the British embassy in India and the rulers of Sind in 1808. Grindlay accompanied the embassy from Bombay on their mission to counteract French "intrigues" and frustrate their secret negotiations with Persia and the Afghan states bordering India.
Sind was governed by a "princely triumvirate" consisting of three brothers named Gholam, Kureem and Meer Moorhad Ali. Most of the figures in this plate are portraits of the individuals present: "the whole scene ... represented with fidelity".
The principal personage is Meer Moorhad Ali, the youngest of the brothers and the present occupant of the throne. "The locale is his private palace or anderoon, where an entertainment is given to his friend, who is seated by him, and surrounded by attendants. The danseuse was a celebrated artiste, named Misree Khana [literally, 'Storehouse of sweets']", a large-eyed beauty "with a rather fair complexion ... The voice of Misree Khana was sweet and powerful, and of great compass ... The accompaniment was performed on two or three of the native violins ... A single addition to this stage accompaniment was produced by the seated performer, who has two small drums before him."