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Small Treasures: Indian and Persian Miniatures

February 25, 2005 - February 25, 2005

Indian and Persian miniature paintings and calligraphy demonstrate the variety and excellence of artistic expression within the limitations of a book page. Not only was the miniature painter confined by the small scale but also sometimes by the encroaching calligraphy around the painting. Artists often had limited creative freedom since the images they painted were often prescribed by religion, mythology, literature or the wishes of the patron. The brushes the artists used were of the utmost fineness and flexibility ? some with only the tip of a single hair.

The miniature prints include Muslim themes as well as some Rajput paintings produced by Hindu artists. Calligraphy miniatures were ranked foremost among the arts of the Islamic book. The Koran is considered the visual manifestation of God’s words and Islamic calligraphers were esteemed above all other artists and craftsmen. They received honours greater than most skilled painters. This exhibition features some recent donations from Dr. and Mrs. Morris Shumiatcher and Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Minnis as well as paintings and calligraphy which have been in the collection for some time, but have not been shown recently.

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