PEARLS ON A STRING

PEARLS ON A STRING: ARTISTS, PATRONS & POETS AT THE GREAT ISLAMIC COURTS

February 26 – May 8, 2016
 
ASIAN ART MUSEUM 
 
San Francisco  www.asianart.org
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I have  always been interested in who and what fueled the high artistic achievements  of the Islamic world from the 16th through the 18th century  –  a time when the global movement of people and their ideas not only tolerated but furthered a cosmopolitan society that was very much inclusive.  Some sixty-four art works, including textiles, paintings, manuscripts, sculpture, metalwork and jeweled objects show us the way through 16th century Mughal India, 17th century Safavid Iran and 18th century Ottoman Turkey.
We follow the lead of a writer,  an artist and a patron.
The writer and historian  Abu’l Fazl ibn Mubarak (1551-1602) was employed at the court of Akbar the Great (ruled 1556-1602) as a writer, an advisor, scholar and chief secretary. His interest in religious sciences and philosophy resonated with the liberal sentiments of Akbar who surrounded himself with Jews, Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
 I have always been partial to Akbar the Great ever since visiting Fatehpur Sikri in India and visiting his grandfather’s (Emperor Babur the Tiger) tomb and garden in Kabul. And below my favorite portrait of Akbar.
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The artist and painter Muhammad Zaman ibn Haji Yusuf (active 1670-1700) at the Safavid court of Shah Sulayman (reigned 1666-1694) worked  in the cosmopolitan city of Isfahan. He is credited with dramatically changing the style of Persian painting by incorporating European  linear perspective and  contrasting light and shadow.
The great sponsor of the arts Sultan Mahmud I (ruled 1730-1754), the ruler of the Ottoman Empire brought merchants, artisans and the forerunners of engineers to cosmopolitan Istanbul to become personally involved with artistic commissions in the field of architecture, art and engineered and jeweled objects.
Enjoy this journey through once cosmopolitan countries – no longer so accessible to us.
Cheers,
Elisabeth and Natasha
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  1. March 15, 2016 at 3:49 am

    lovely post

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