Rare Mughal exhibits from British Library in Delhi
The facsimile edition of the original exhibition will be on display in the capital from November 22 to December 31
New Delhi: Rare exhibits including Shah Jahan’s recipe book, a route map from Delhi to Quandhar, a river front map of Agra, a bird’s eye view of Red Fort are among other Mughal miniatures set to go on display here.
Titled ‘Mughal India: Life, Art and Culture’, an exhintion tracing the evolution of Mughal art and empire between the 16th and 19th centuries has been curated by Malini Roy for the British Library in London in March this year.
The exhibition of replicas of exquisite paintings from the British Library’s Central and South Asian collections is scheduled to be inaugurated by Vice President Hamid Ansari and Union External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid.
An initiative by Roli Books in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), the facsimile edition of the original exhibition will be on display in the capital from November 22 to December 31.
“The exhibition at British Library is not like we visit a museum. Hence, they aren’t on display unless something particularly asks to see these exhibits. And how many Indians would get to see that? So, we chose to bring the same exhibition here as well,” says Pramod Kapoor, Founder and Publisher, Roli Books.
“Besides the exhibition a series of lectures, workshops and discussions by noted art historians and scholars from India as well as London including William Dalrymple, M J Akbar and Pushpesh Pant will also be held,” he added.
The Mughal Empire was a period of great cultural and educational enlightenment and has directly influenced many modern areas of Indian culture. The emperors of the Mughal dynasty are best remembered through their rich cultural heritage, including exquisite paintings and manuscripts, jewelled ornaments and architectural landmarks such as the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal.
The exhibition will showcase the British Library’s extensive collection of illustrated manuscripts and paintings that were commissioned by Mughal emperors and other officials, which depict the splendour and vibrant colour of Mughal life. The artworks will cover a variety of subject matter, from scenes of courtly life including lively hunting parties and formal portraits of emperors to illustrations of works of literature which manage to convey complex story lines in dramatic panoramas of Indian landscapes.
Some of the rare exhibits on display will include the Shah Jahan’s recipe book, Notebook of Fragrance, an 18th century manuscript ‘Book of Affairs of Life’ by Rai Anand Ram Mukhlis, Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi by Metcalf, an earliest Indian Atlas among other extraordinary portraits.
The exhibition is curated by John Falconer who is lead curator of Visual Arts and Curator of Photographs at the British Library.
“The opening of the exhibition will provide a unique occasion to celebrate our shared cultural heritage. it will also enable the Indian viewers to be a part of their own history,” said John, who was also one of the curators of the London exhibition.
A book compiling the finest works of Mughal art which will be on display at the exhibition.