The Museum of Islamic Arts’ (MIA) latest exhibition, Imperial Threads: Motifs and Artisans from Turkey, Iran and India, has been extended to run until 27 January 2018, due to popular demand.
The exhibition shows a new element of MIA’s extraordinary permanent collection by highlighting the connection between three major dynasties that marked the start of the early modern period in Islamic art - the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires.
The Imperial Threads exhibition focuses on the exchange of artistic and material cultures between three neighbouring empires, primarily from the 15th to the 19th centuries. It also illustrates the cultural and artistic background of this time by featuring artefacts including carpets, manuscripts, metalwork and ceramics.
The exhibition is broken down into three sections, each one focusing on a specific empire. The Safavid Empire section (1501-1736) showcases works from the Safavid royal Kitabkhanah, or manuscripts workshop, as well as artistic motifs developed under patrons such as Shah Tahmasp. The Safavids played a major role in the transfer of artistic practices by means of travelling artists to the neighbouring Ottoman and Mughal courts.
The second section introduces visitors to the Ottoman artistic production with works ranging from the 16th to 18th centuries. It showcases examples of carpets in addition to other mediums characteristic of local tribal designs, merged with outside influences coming from Iranian ateliers.
The last section highlighting the Mughal Empire (1526-1858), offers a look into the culmination of artistic styles integrating Safavid, Ottoman and local traditions. Of note are the detailed floral designs that represent a major part of the decorative repertoire, found particularly in carpets and jewellery.
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