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21.07.2009 to 15.10.2009


Miniatures illustrating works of architecture are at the centre of the present exhibition. In addition to album sheets of the Moghul period (16th - 19th century), also older, rarely shown manuscripts are on display. Exhibits include an anthology produced around 1420 for Baisonqur (the son of Timurid ruler Shah Rukh) at the court of his brother in Shiraz. In these older works, the illustrations engage in a dialogue with the text, usually in the form of well-known poetry that was handed down for centuries in the Islamic world.

The architecture creates a framework for the action, providing a stage for the actors. Under the Timurids, the architecture became an integral part of the painting. The three-dimensional buildings were 'translated' into two-dimensional images; rooms were opened out, and interior and exterior views juxtaposed. Greater importance is given to the architectural decoration than to form: as is the case with textiles, the lavish geometrical and vegetal motives in the tile panels and faïence mosaics are applied in powerful colours with extremely fine brush-strokes: gold and silver applications emphasise the splendour of the miniatures.
The sheets executed in India soon displayed regional characteristics. During the 17th century, the pictorial composition and themes changed; artists strove to create more realistic images. The structure, colouring and perspective were inspired by their encounter with European painting.
Splendid carpets and textiles with highly artistic patterns, and precious metal and porcelain vessels are a standard feature in permanent and mobile architecture.