WASHINGTON.- Among the most remarkable of Mughal paintings and calligraphies are those commissioned by the Emperors Jahangir (1605-27)and Shah Jahan (1627-58) for display in lavish imperial albums. A window into the world-views of the emperors, these exquisite images depict the emperors, the imperial family in relaxed private settings, Sufi saints and mystics, allies and courtiers, and natural history subjects. Many folios are full-page paintings with superb figural borders, other are collages of European, Persian, and Mughal works collected by the emperors. Produced by the atelier's leading artists, they reveal the conceptual and artistic sophistication of the arts of the book at its apex in the early seventeenth century.
The exhibition brings together 82 masterpieces--many not previously exhibited in the United States--from the renowned collection of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.
Situated in the heart of Ireland's capital city, the Chester Beatty Library is an art museum and library which houses the great collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts assembled by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). The Library's exhibitions open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. Its rich collection from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe offers visitors a visual feast. Chester Beatty Library was named Irish Museum of the year in 2000 and was awarded the title European Museum of the Year in 2002.
Egyptian papyrus texts, beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur'an, the Bible, European medieval and renaissance manuscripts are among the highlights of the collection. Turkish and Persian miniatures and striking Buddhist paintings are also on display, as are Chinese dragon robes and Japanese woodblock prints. In its diversity, the collection captures much of the richness of human creative expression from about 2700 BC to the present day.