It's one of those tantalizing works that makes you want to know more about creator and subject. Obviously a picture of a ruler, but we are unsure whether he commanded armies, a nation, or was lord of the smaller fiefdoms they knew as "states."

As with all devotional work, it is rich in symbolism: the cane suggests the eventual dimunition of power, and the small shovel on the right brings to mind the tools that will be used for burial. Yet he sits between this implements of decay, vital and full of fire.