Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries
The Arts of India, 1556-1658
June 23 - July 1, 2008
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India Art Quiz
Presentation: Portrait Symbols
Presentation: Profile Portrait

Unit of Study:      Mughal India: Muraqqa’/ Patchwork

Lesson Title:        Princely Profile Portrait

Discipline:            Art, English

Grade Level:        5th Grade

Author:                 Gillian L. Breedlove

County:                 Caroline County, MD

Time Period:        8 class periods, 45 minutes each


Students will view examples of Mughal Muraqqa’ artwork depicting a king or prince to look for details and symbols that tell the viewer that the person in the portrait is of great importance. Students will learn how to construct a profile portrait by dividing an oval into 4 equal parts to use as a guide for placement of the facial features. Students will create a profile portrait practice, then a profile portrait "final copy" of a person who is of a personal importance to that student, the aforementioned symbol concept will be applied as a way to indicate how this person is of importance to the individual student. When the princely profile portraits are completed students will again refer to Mughal Muraqqa’ artwork, students will create a prose style writing to give an description/ explanation of their princely portrait as well as the symbols used.


  • Teacher:  Before we begin our lesson, I will need to have the visual examples of Mughal Muraqqa’ art selected and enlarged to share with students. I will need to read and gather information about the selected visual examples to be ready for discussion and to answer any student questions. The new vocabulary about the art studied and the art made will need to be prepared.

  • Students: Students may have some ideas about what and where India is, what kind of people live there, what kind of animals, and they may have some familiarity with Indian culture and mythology.


  • Drawing paper/ Construction Paper 9x12
  • Pencils & Erasers
  • Oil Pastel
  • Color Pencils
  • Writing Paper
  • Markers
  • Decorative Papers
  • Craft sequins and glitter
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Card Stock 14x20



•    Art:

1.0 Perceiving and Responding: Aesthetic Education:Students will demonstrate the ability to perceive, interpret, and respond to ideas, experiences, and the environment through visual art.

1.5.3. Use the elements of art and principles of design to organize personally meaningful compositions.
b. Select and use principles of design to create compositions that           clarify ideas and feelings for the viewer.

2.0 Historical, Cultural, and Social Context: Students will demonstrate an understanding of visual art as an essential aspect of history and human experience.

2.5.1. Determine ways in which works of art express ideas about one’s self, other people, places, and events.
a. Analyze and interpret the content of selected works of art and compare different ways artists express ideas and feelings about life experiences.
2.5.2. Classify reasons why people create and use art by studying artworks and other sources of information.
a. Identify artistic styles and forms of expression from different times and place.

3.0 Creative Expression and Production: Students will demonstrate the ability to organize knowledge and ideas for expression in the production of art.

3.5.1. Create images and forms from observation, memory, and imagination.
a. Experiment with media, processes, and techniques to convey specific thoughts and feelings.
b. Manipulate art media, materials, and tools safely.

4.0 Aesthetics and Criticism: Students will demonstrate the ability to identify, analyze, and apply criteria for making visual aesthetic judgments.

4.5. 2. Identify and apply criteria to evaluate personally created artworks and the artworks of others.
a. Establish criteria for judging artworks by interpreting exemplary      models.
b. Describe, analyze, interpret, and make judgments about personal artwork and the artworks of others.

•    English:
Grade 5.1.
Topic D. Vocabulary
Indicator 2 : Discuss words and word meanings daily as they are encountered in text, instruction, and conversation.

Grade 5.4.
Topic A. Writing
Indicator 1: Compose texts using the prewriting and drafting strategies of effective writers and speakers.


Lesson Day 1:
Long ago, in India, rulers called Mughals paid artists to make books that record the important times in their lives and prove their greatness. All Mughal royalty were painted shown in profile.

We will practice making a profile portrait, then make a final copy using the practice drawing as a guide.

You will be successful if you can follow along with the steps in the practice, then use what you learned to make a profile portrait of someone who is important to you.

Lesson Day 2:

A symbol can be a word, a picture, or an idea that stands for something else.

You will add to the drawing of your Important Person things that symbolize their importance.

You will be successful if you can add items that symbolize your person’s importance as you continue the drawing.

Lesson Day 3:

Oil pastel can be used to draw and to color. You can smooth oil pastel using a paper towel or tissue.

Using marker you will neatly outline your drawing. Using oil pastel you will color in areas so the paper does not show through. You will have today and the next art class to add color to the profile portrait.

You will be successful if you can:
1)    neatly draw outlines using marker
2)    blend colored in areas so no paper shows through

Lesson Days 4 + 5:

Oil pastels can be mixed, smoothed, and blended to make new colors. We can add warm colors like red, yellow, orange, and pink to help us make skin color.

Last day to add color. We will make skin color by adding 1 or more warm colors to a pastel color like white, peach, or brown.

You will be successful if you can make a skin color by blending 1 or more warm colors to a base color like white, peach, or brown.
You will finish coloring in oil pastel today.
**On day 5 students are shown the next lesson's objectives so they can go forward and work on a rough draft as they finish adding color to their drawing.

Lesson Day 6:

Prose is the language that people use when they speak or write. It is writing that does not have the repeating rhythm used in poetry.

We will use the prose style of writing. Write 4-6 sentences describing the person who is important to you. Talk about the symbols you drew and what the symbols mean.

You will be successful if you can write 4-6 sentences about the person you chose for your drawing. You will describe what the symbols say about your person.

Lesson Day 7:

The books that are used to hold the kinds of paintings we have seen are called Muraqqas.

We will use the patterned papers and supplies to decorate the cover of your Muraqqa.

You will be successful if you can complete your Muraqqas by using the art materials.

Lesson Day 8:

The self-assessment is a way to critique your own work.

We will first critique our own work, then have a short quiz.

You will be successful if you can compare your muraqqa to the questions in the self-assessment and give an honest answer.


a.        Profile
b.        Portrait
c.         India
d.        Mughal
e.         Symbol
f.         Detail
g.         Muraqqa
h.        Self-Assessment
i.          Prose


a.    Lesson Day 1: See Think Wonder: Warm up activity is used to get the students to think about the art they are looking at, actively engaged.

b.    Lesson Day 2: Symbols of a King: Warm up activity refers to the art viewed on day 1. Students are encouraged to find the symbols in the examples that indicate the importance of the person in the portrait.

Scope and Sequence:

Lesson Day 1:

•    We will begin our lesson with a discussion of what students already know about India, the art and culture. We go to viewing some examples of Mughal art and do a warm up activity “See Think Wonder” to have students thinking about the works of art.

•    Together we go through the lesson on making a profile portrait. The students take a practice, half-sheet of paper and draw an oval. The oval is divided in half vertically (where the eyes go) then each half is divided in half again (hair line, mouth line). These guides help the student find the accurate location of facial features, a strategy to help ensure successful portraits.

•    The lines in the paper are used as guidelines for placement of facial features. To start, students hold their paper vertical and draw a large oval, this oval represents the head. The middle lines is the line where we place the eye, students will chose which side of the oval the eye will be on (which way the head will face).

•    The line at the bottom of the page is where the mouth is located. Students draw the mouth first, then leaving some space, students draw the nose starting between the eyes and ending above the mouth.

•    The ear is drawn using the eye as the guideline for the top of the ear and the nose as the bottom of the ear.

•    The line at the top of the page is the line where hair meets the skin on the face, the hair-line. Students will draw the hair along the forehead and along the temple behind the ear.

•    After practice , students draw a final copy. A drawing of a person in profile: someone of great importance to the student.

Lesson Day 2:

•    We view a slide show on what symbols are and how they are seen in the muraqqa art. The students will transfer this concept to their art: draw symbols that give meaning to your person.


Prior Knowledge: 
What do we know about making a profile? A portrait?
How did we use guidelines?
What have we seen of Indian royals, Mughals?

1)         I do:       
I review previous lesson. I walk students through the current PowerPoint slides.

2)        We Do:    
We review. Students tell me their goal: Add symbols of importance to their person profile and continue to refine the drawing.

3)        You Do:  
You are working on the profile portrait of a person who is very important to you. As you continue to draw this person you are adding items/ objects to the drawing that symbolize their importance.

Lesson day 3:

Prior Knowledge: 
What do we know about making a profile portrait?
How did we use guidelines? Using symbols?

1)         I do:  
I demonstrate drawing technique and use of oil pastel over drawing.    

3)        We Do:    
We review content from 2 ppt. presentations with students. We restate the previous objectives. I ask students to determine if they are “successful.”

4)        You Do:  
You work on adding color to the important person profile portrait using demonstration as source of information. Students are using best craftsmanship to add color to their drawing.

Lesson day 4 & 5:

Prior Knowledge: 
How do we blend oil pastel?

1)         I do:  
I demonstrate use of base + warm to make more realistic skin colors.
Blend to smooth and mix.

2)        We Do:    
I ask students to give a summary of lesson objective in their words. I ask students to create a” formula” for making skin color. How light or dark is your important person?

3)        You Do:  
You finish adding color to the drawing. You make real looking skin color. I placed the next “Learn, do, and success” on the board and explained that those who finish early will make a rough draft of the prose writing about their person.

Lesson day 6:

Prior Knowledge: 
What is a rough draft? What is a final copy?

1)         I do:  
I talk about prose. I give a sample writing.

2)        We Do:
We give some samples of our own. Students will make a draft first.

3)        You Do:  
You will rewrite the sentences in the draft neatly onto the lined paper using the markers or color pencils.

Lesson day 7:

Prior Knowledge: 
A frame surrounds the art. Four sides, squared up.

1)         I do:  
I show students the example and the supplies.

2)        We Do:    
We will use the materials to decorate our muraqqa art cover.

3)        You Do:  
You will complete your art today using the provided materials.

Lesson day 8:

1)         I do:  
I review the expectations for critique/ self-assessment sheets.  I
explain that I will read the questions to them then they respond, not to jump ahead. I set up expectation for quiz etiquette.
2)        We Do:    
We have an opportunity to ask questions before start. We go through and go one question at a time for the self-assessment.

3)        You Do:  
You will answer the quiz questions independently.



Lesson Day 1: Are students following along with steps? Are students using the practice lesson by applying it to their self-portrait in profile? At summary are students able to describe the vocab and main points of lesson?

Lesson Day 2: Are students hunting and finding the clues that point out the important people in the artwork? Are they able to pick up on the visual clues? Are students using this information to create these elements and add them to the self-portrait in profile? Are students adding color using best craftsmanship practices?

Lesson Day 3: Are students using what was shown in the demonstration to help them color using oil pastel neatly, best work?

Lesson Day 4: Are students using what was shown in demo to help them color using oil pastel neatly, best work? Blending? Mixing? Using one skin tone and mix with a warm color like pink, yellow, or orange to make skin look more life like?

Lesson Day 5: Are students completing their coloring to their best ability? Are they making an effort to clean up the messiness around the edges? Does their rough draft express who the person is they chose, why they were chosen as most important, and explain what the meaning is behind each of the symbols drawn?

Lesson Day 6: Are students making written connections between symbols they used and what makes the person important to them? Is this being communicated in the description?

Lesson Day 7: Today being the last day of the lesson, are students working efficiently to complete their art?
Is their work neat and showing an effort to use best craftsmanship?

Lesson Day 8: Self-Assessments are to be used reflectively. My aim is for students to use as an honest assessment, not just circle "excellent" for all points with no thought.


1)         Princely Profile Portrait Assessment:  Rubric: Students completed a self-assessment rubric (see attachment) at the end of the lesson.

2)        Students took a quiz (see attachment) on the topics/vocabulary used in the lesson.


I am a traveling art teacher and I teach at two schools, I had access to the LCD projector needed to implement the lesson at both schools. The one school’s LCD projector was easier to use and therefore class went smoothly and on time, the other hindered the timely progress of the lesson – a frustration for myself and the students. The time of day for their art differs from school to school: a 12:00 start time and 3:00 start time. The difference in time seemed to affect how much of the lesson was absorbed by the students and utilized properly – obviously the 3:00 class was not nearly as focused as the 12:00 class and this was apparent in the need for one additional class period to complete their work.

The students were presented with the notion that the format I give to use is a technique that will help improve their ability to draw, not following the format given diminishes their chance at success (essential to a passing score when graded). Over the first 3 class periods I still had students who needed to start over because they were not using the format given, and in return required to catch up on missed time out of class. If the usual lesson is flexible on steps and choices, this lesson was very step oriented and a good number of students had trouble being disciplined to the “steps” project.

The art classes are in the homerooms, with the homeroom teacher being present in the room as the students worked I found the homeroom teachers showed more of an interest in this project and were fascinated with the outcome. The homeroom teachers enjoyed finding out whom the student admires and what kinds of positive things they had to say about this person.

The decorating day was troubling. Lots of materials to pass, many choices for the students to make…it all took more time than we had. I needed a more efficient way to travel with and share the needed tools and materials within the time provided. Next time I want a way to get their materials out more efficiently – maybe large zip lock baggies with enough for a table or small group to share?

My students loved the different means of presenting this lesson, they really enjoyed learning about a different area and time that (I’m sure) is obscure to them culturally. A rare few of my students knew some about India but were surprised that the art we viewed wasn’t what they expected and another few started to make connections with the kinds of things we see today that compare to the Indian artwork/ culture ( “rappers wear big chains and jewels to look rich and important like those kings”) and yet others are obviously discussing the project and lessons with family and are telling me stories of ‘aunt so and so who went to India’ and ‘this is uncle so and so’s souvenir from India’….and on and on. It is nice to see how they connected with the lesson. I did not expect that many of my rural students would know much about India, I was pleasantly surprised when they did.

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