Workshop on the Role of Eighteenth-Century Indo-Persianate Albums from 15 to 17 September 2021

Museumsinsel Berlin

From 15‒17 September 2021 the Museum für Asiatische Kunst and the Museum für Islamische Kunst ‒ Staatliche Museen zu Berlin are jointly hosting a hybrid workshop with online and on-site lectures on the role of Indo-Persianate albums in the 18th century.

The workshop will address the role of Indo-Persianate albums (muraqqaʿs) that were assembled for or collected by the Mughal governors of Awadh (Uttar Pradesh), Shujaʿ al-Daula (reigned 1754–1775) and his successor, Asaf al-Daula (reigned 1775-1797), as well as other local elites in Bengal and Bihar. Europeans also participated in the creation and consumption of albums, as patrons and collectors. In 1882, the Prussian State acquired a group of twenty albums from the twelfth Duke of Hamilton; so far, these artworks have received little study.

Eight of them belonged to the Scottish surgeon and interpreter Archibald Swinton (1731–1804) and ten to the Franco-Swiss engineer and architect Antoine Louis Henri Polier (1741–1795) – both were British East India Company officers deeply acquainted with Indo-Persian aristocratic culture. Many more albums are linked to well-known European figures, such as the Governor-General of Bengal Warren Hastings (1732–1818) and the French Company officer (and special agent to Shujaʿ al-Daula in Faizabad) Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gentil (1726–1799). Numerous interrelated questions arise from the study of this material, concerning audiences, artists, patrons, collectors and their wish to produce and preserve knowledge; these questions are to be discussed in this workshop.

Registration and Participation

The workshop will be held as a combined format with a mix of online and on-site presentations at the Museum of Asian Art and the Museum for Islamic Art in Berlin. The complete programme can be downloaded as a PDF (680 KB).

If you wish to attend the workshop in person, please note that the number of seats at both venues is limited. Advance registration for on-site attendance is essential. Please contact Friederike Weis (f.weis[at]

You are cordially invited to join all presentations. The lectures and discussions are held in English.

We anticipate that the event will be recorded.

The event is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).