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article imageSeattle Asian Art Museum exhibit features Mughal paintings

By Sravanth Verma     Aug 21, 2014 in Entertainment
Seattle - "Mughal Painting: Power and Piety" at Foster Galleries at the Seattle Asian Art Museum presents works of art created in India under the Mughals, from 1526 to 1857.
The artwork on display is predominantly miniature painting, which fuses Indian and Persian styles. The court's finest artists worked on several hundred such pieces on paper, during the course of the empire. However, only a few have been preserved to the present day. The paintings predominantly depict the victories, battles and daily lives of the royalty.
Though shown as framed paintings in the exhibit, the artwork was originally part of albums and illustrated manuscripts that were used by the Mughal court. The illustrated manuscripts were of course meant to be read. But the albums were a sort of scrapbook, and each ruler or noble collected and assembled an album according to their personal tastes.
Visitors can use the magnifying glasses provided by the museum to examine various stunning details, including the use of precious stones and gold paint, as well as lapis lazuli for blue.
Besides the paintings, several other extraordinary items from the nobles' collections are also featured, such as daggers, a mirror, a pen case and walking-stick heads made of jade and crystal, adorned with gems and gold.
One of the most significant figures of the Mughal empire is the Emperor Akbar, third in line, who ruled from 1556 to 1609 and greatly expanded the empire. Considered a man of great intellect though he could not read, he commandeered some of the greatest minds in his empire to organize debates on philosophy and religion, and had his artists create some classic and historically important paintings. Explanations were mounted on the rear of the pictures and read to him.
Also known for his attempt to merge aspects of Hinduism and Islam to create a new faith, Akbar had several miniatures created based on other religions, including one of the Virgin Mary, and some based on the Hindu scriptures including a depiction of the Hindu god Krishna in a battle scene.
The exhibit runs till December 7, 2014.
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