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Legacy of the Masters: Painting and Calligraphy from the Islamic World

Kwiatkowski, Will
2019, Geb., 224 S.
Paul Holberton Publishing


This publication presents a collection of over sixty paintings, drawings and calligraphic specimens mostly made in the Safavid, Uzbek, Ottoman and Mughal Empires in the period from the 16th through the early 19th century for inclusion in albums (muraqqa). The compilation of these albums, involving the collection and ordering of the works to be included as well as the design and execution of decorative borders, was an art form in itself and amounted to a broader cultural phenomenon that has increasingly become the focus of scholarly attention. This was the age of the master artist, whose work was eagerly sought by collectors, imitated by admirers and forgers, taken as loot by invaders, and exchanged as gifts that had value across political borders. The international currency of a master artist's work is particularly apparent in the case of the calligrapher Mir Ali of Herat (d. 1544), whose calligraphies were almost obsessively sought out by the Mughal rulers of India and provided a model for subsequent generations of calligraphers in India and Iran.

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