Monday, April 13, 2015

SULTANS of DECCAN INDIA: Opulence and Fantasy: Review by Polly Guerin

Parrot Perched on a Mango tree with tethered ram
The ever enriching exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sultan of Deccan India, 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy, brings visitors into a world of charm and great beauty with some 200 of the finest works from major international, private and royal collections. The exhibition opening April 20 runs through July 26, 20l5 in the first -floor exhibition gallery. It explores the character of Deccani art in various media: poetic lyricism in painting; lively created metal work; and a distinguishing tradition of textile production. Why is Deccan history so important? Because it will resonate with your creative senses to inspire and be amazed by the distinctive Indo-Islamic art and culture.
   The Deccan plateau of south-central India was home to a succession of highly cultured Muslim Kingdoms with a rich artistic heritage. Under their patronage in the 16th and 17th centuries, foreign influences---notably from Iran, Turkey, eastern Africa, and Europe--combined with ancient and prevailing Indian traditions to create a distinctive Indo-Islamic art and culture. A highlight is the presentation of all the known masterpieces and several new discoveries in painting, the greatest art of the Deccan.
   Diamonds on display will dazzle your imagination. Some of the largest ever found originated in the great mines of the Deccan. From antiquity until the 18th and 19th centuries, when diamonds were discovered in Brazil and Africa, India was virtually the sole source of these precious gems. Whether given as diplomatic gifts or trade by merchants, India's diamond reached an appreciative audience among European royalty.  Among the treasures from Golconda---whose diamond mines were the source of such diamonds as the legendary Kohinoor---will be a group of magnificent gems to feast your eyes on, from international royal collections, including the "Idol's Eye" and "Agra" diamonds.
In addition, look for the gilt steel armor shoes fit for a Sultan.  
Manuscript of Nyjumal-Ulum (Stars of Science)
                                                               Magnificent Textiles shown include spectacular large painted textiles, several over nine feet in height and all richly painted with motifs drawn from Indian, Islamic, and European art. These are shown along with sumptuous royal objects made of inlaid and gilded metal, precious jewels, carved wood, and stone architectural elements, many of which draw inspiration from the art of Safavid Persia and Ottoman Turkey.
   The Deccan plateau by the 16th century included immigrants from Central Asia and Iran, African military slaves, native-born Muslim nobles, European missionaries, merchants,
and mercenaries.
As a result, it boasted one of the most cosmopolitan societies of the early modern world.  To provide a glimpse into this dynamic, yet little-known society, the exhibition focuses chiefly on the courtly art of the kingdoms of Bijapur, Ahmaadnagar, Bidar and Golconda. These dynamic centers of royal patronage drew some of the greatest artists, writers, poets and musicians of the period.
  Ta Ta Darlings!!! The exhibition's  incredible treasure trove of artifacts is both breathtaking and an awesome reminder of the great artisan talent of centuries ago.  Fan mail welcome at Check out Polly's Blog links on
Gilt Steel armored shoes for a Sultan


No comments:

Post a Comment