Friday, July 6, 2018

Mughal & Muslim Art Analyzed: Shangri La Center for Islamic Art

Here is a terrific Islamic art collection, some of which you can see online, and some of which you can see explained by scholars.

It's all part of the The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art at Shangri La in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Doris Duke was the heiress of a tobacco tycoon and traveled throughout the world.

But it was her travels to Egypt, Jordan, and India in 1935 where she developed an appreciation and love for Muslim art.

Over the next 50 years, she built a large collection of Muslim art, especially with floral motifs. She even commissioned a bedroom designed with a Mughal motif.

The best part of the collection is the scholar favorites. Here, various resident scholars analyze various pieces of art in short video clips of three to five minutes.

In the first clip below, Dr. Amanda Phillips, Fellow at the Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, explains how a velvet panel made in Bursa used silk from Iran and dyes harvested from oak trees.

Later, however, in the 16th and 17th century, they were using dyes from tiny parasitic insects imported from Mexico called cochineals.

And, in the second clip, Jennifer Scarce, Honorary Lecturer, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, analyzes a color tile from Iran and made in the late 19th century.

She notes that it is an excellent example of the technical skill of glazing and composition.  And, the scene comes from one of  Persia's great romantic poems, Layla and Majnun, the story of two star-crossed lovers.

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