He was a native of Kirman, Persia. He received his education in Tabriz. He was sent to Rome under the reign of Shah Abbas II. He returned to Persia as a Christian with the name Paolo. Because of his conversion to Christianity he was obliged to escape from Persia to India where he obtained the protection of the Moghul dynasty.
A Persian miniature by Muhammad Zaman. The landscape in the background shows European painting influences.
Muhammad Zaman was influenced by Italian painting techniques. However, as Ivanov suggests, Muhammad Zaman studied under a European artist in Isfahan, Persia, and the report of his being sent by Shah Abbas II to study in Italy, where he adopted Christianity, is no more than a colourful legend.
It is reported[by whom?] that Manucci the famous traveller made the acquaintance of Muhammad Zaman at the court of Aurangzib.