Persian and Indian Miniatures

  • May 21, 2011 – Aug 7, 2011
  • The Weatherspoon Guild Gallery
Unknown, "Prince Under Canopy Receiving Five Bejewled Ladies and Four
Seated Men", late 18th century, gouache on paper, 9 1/4 x 9 in. Gift of
Etta and Claribel Cone, 1950.

Did you know?

These small-scale works on paper were produced at imperial workshops where two or more artists—a designer, a colorist, and sometimes a specialist or a minor detail painter—would often work on the same painting.

Appearing sometime between the 10th and 12th century, Indian miniature paintings hold a special place in the history of art. Similar to Western illuminated manuscripts, they were first etched on palm leaves and used as illustrations to manuscript texts.  Eventually these small-scale, highly detailed paintings were produced as works of art in their own right to convey scenes of courtly life, episodes from religious texts, beautiful landscapes, and rajas from classical Indian music, to name but a few themes. Over the centuries, distinct schools, styles, and sub-styles emerged in different geographical locations in India. Kept as loose leaves or bound in albums, the paintings, however, were accessible only to the patrons who commissioned them or to a select, privileged few.

Part of the museum’s permanent collection and shown in conjunction with Encore!: Japanese Actor Prints, many of these miniature paintings were given to the Weatherspoon by Lenoir C. Wright; others were gifts of Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel Cone, sisters who shared a passion for collecting art during the first half of the twentieth century.

Funding for this exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Fairway Outdoor Advertising.


Related program:

Film: Nainsukh • Thu July 14 @ 6:30pm

We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.