In the past year or so I’ve become a growing fan of miniature painting, an art form that’s been around for centuries across South Asia and the Middle East. Thanks to the emergence of contemporary artists who have studied its traditional techniques and then tweaked them to suit their own styles of expression, miniature painting has been given a shot at a major comeback in today’s art world.
Today I heard from the Asia Society in New York, and they told me about a new exhibit at their museum in the city that will showcase some of the most original pieces of the form: More than 30 richly painted miniatures that illustrate scenes from the Persian national epic, the Shahnamah (Book of Kings). The show, A Prince's Manuscript Unbound: Muhammad Juki's Shahnamah, will be the first time that the illustrations in the manuscript, which was commissioned by the Timurid Prince Muhammad Juki (1402–1444), have all been exhibited together.
Asia Society Museum Director and Vice President of Global Art Programs Melissa Chiu calls the manuscript one of the ‘most superb…of its day,’ with its ‘rich colours, striking compositions, and intricate detail,’ that lives up to its title of a document of ‘artistic and historical importance.’
For readers who will be in New York, the exhibit runs through May 1. For more information, check out the multimedia slideshow below:
Asia Society's curator Adriana Proser previews A Prince's Manuscript Unbound: Muhammad Juki's Shahnamah, opening at Asia Society Museum on February 9, 2011.