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Page of Calligraphy

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

The elite at the royal courts of India often commissioned illustrated manuscripts like this one to convey their wealth and appreciation of the arts. The opulent paintings that accompany the written story enable a viewer to follow the narrative through the images, taking an imaginative mental journey.

This edition of the Gulshan-i Ishq has ninety-six illustrations and is arguably the finest intact illustrated version of the tale to survive. It recounts a North Indian Hindu love story recast as a Sufi tale for an Islamic court in south-central India. The poet creates a world filled with lush gardens and magical beings as star-crossed lovers face daunting challenges and painful separations before they can live "happily ever after"—a metaphor of the soul’s search for the divine.

Object Details

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