Islamic Arts of India

30 March – 30 June 2002

The Mughal Empire was one of the greatest dynasties of India, spanning over three hundred years from 1526AD to 1877AD. The Mughals were Muslims and they exposed their many subjects to Islamic values and culture. Nevertheless the Mughals were not the first Muslim rulers in India; Qutb al-Din Aibak had established the first Muslim sultanate in India in 1206AD. Mughal rule was a period that witnessed the combination of artistic triumph with prodigious power, sumptuous luxury with political intrigue.

The Mughal Emperors were the first rulers to wield power over such a large portion of the Indian sub-continent. As a result of the rich resources of India, the Mughal Emperors were able to indulge themselves in lifestyles of opulence and decadence. Fortunately, the Mughal rulers expended a great deal of their material wealth in the patronage of the arts. The ‘Islamic Arts of India’ exhibition held in partnership between the National Museum New Delhi and the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia showcases some of these artistic riches of the Mughal Empire. To give an even greater insight into the advent of the Mughal rulers on the arts, we have also included pieces from the pre-Mughal Sultanate period in our exhibition.

The Mughal arts comprise of the genres of manuscripts, jewellery, arms and armour, coins, decorative art and painting. We are fortunate to be able to present to you the overview of each genre with its particular Mughal style. Mughal art is a unique amalgamation of native Indian art with Iranian and European influences. This distinct style may be seen in the wide array of pieces on view in the ‘Islamic Arts of India’ exhibition.

Much painstaking attention has been paid to the design and craftsmanship of these pieces. The delicacy of the textiles, the intrictae carving of the decorative boxes, the elaborate settings of the magnificent jewels, the deftness of the calligraphic script and the excellence of the rare and renowned manuscripts are some of the qualities of our pieces that we hope you will take note of.

*Publication for Rhythm & Verses is available at the Museum Shop, please click here for more information.

Islamic Art of India