This is the catalogue to an outstanding collection of Medieval art from a private collection. Ranging from paintings and sculpture to stained glass, manuscripts and caskets, many of the objects presented here are of absolute rarity, some are previously unpublished and - until recently - unknown. More
Accompanies an exhibition at Sam Fogg during the city-wide event Asian Art In London (3–12 November 2016)
A Library of Manuscripts from India
Paperback, 300 x 245 mm 72 pages, 95 colour illus.
ISBN: 978 1 911300 12 0
Sam Fogg and Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse
This beautiful collection of illustrated manuscripts takes the reader on a visual journey through great epics, charged romances and colourful cautionary tales from the Indian subcontinent of the 16th to 20th centuries.
The rich variety of languages, religious traditions and schools of art of the Indian subcontinent are brought together in this exceptional library of Indian manuscripts. Religious and philosophical texts from Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Sikh and Zoroastrian schools of thought are all represented in illustrated manuscripts. This library shows how these various faiths borrowed, interacted and influenced one another in the subcontinent. From palm leaf manuscripts of the South to pothi format manuals from the Himalayas in Nepal, to the sophisticated and highly illustrated manuscripts of the Imperial Moghul court, this catalogue takes the reader on a visual journey through great epics, charged romances and colourful cautionary tales.
Highlights include an important and lavishly illustrated palm-leaf manuscript by ‘The Emperor of Poets’, Upendra Bhanja (c. 1640–1740 ce), and a rare Bihar-i Danesh (The Springtime of Knowledge) by Shaikh ‘Inayatallah Kamboh of Delhi, from late 17th/early 18th century – the finest known copy of the manuscript. An exceptional album of 18th-century Indian paintings from the Liechtenstein Princely Collections offers insight into the fascination for Indian courtly life among the nobility of Europe.
A number of exceptional painted scrolls are also presented here. Scroll painting has a long history in India. Story tellers would travel from village to village giving performances of well-known epics and regional stories often accompanied by musicians and with the visual aid of a painted scroll. One particularly vibrant scroll, over 15 metres in length, of the Madel Puranamu, was probably commissioned by a wealthy member of the dhobi caste to celebrate his community’s origins and favour with Shiva.
Among the many intruiging maps and manuals – on art, astrology, omens, divination and auspicious symbols – is an 18th-century Nepalese sorcer’s manual, which contains instructions for protective and exorcistic Shaiva rituals, mantras and sacrificial blood-offerings. Its binding includes feathers and traces of blood and skin, which by tradition are fragments of the ‘five beasts’ – buffalo, chicken, dog, goat and cow.
These works of museum quality, from an anonymous collection (one of the most important currently in private hands), were exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2005. Many of the objects in the catalogue will be well known to those familiar with the specialist literature, even if they were unaware of their whereabouts. More
This illuminated manuscript, a gradual of large size which the whole congregation of monks could see and read as they sang in choir (just as they are shown doing in an illustration in the manuscript itself), was previously unknown to scholars and has only recently come to light. It was produced for a monastery of the Olivetan order, a branch of the Benedictines with a particular reverence for the Virgin Mary – probably Santa Maria di Baggio near Milan. More
Published to accompany the first exhibition on ceramics of the Middle Ages anywhere for more than 50 years, this beautiful publication aims to demystify medieval art by highlighting the beauty and familiarity of ceramic pots and tiles from all over northern Europe, with an emphasis on 13th to early 16th-century England. More
Given the status of the Qur‘an as the eternal and uncreated word of Allah, the art of the pen became the focus of an extraordinary energy in the Muslim world. Ink and Gold charts the development of Islamic calligraphy – the noblest, most stylized and original of the Islamic arts – over a period of some 1200 years, from its beginnings in the Arabian Peninsula. More
The Islamic manuscripts and manuscript leaves gathered here are often of great antiquity, ranging from the eighth to the sixteenth century; most are in Kufic. There are also pottery, metalwork and woodwork examples bearing calligraphy. An impressive illustration of the many beauties of Islamic script. More
The selection consists of Qur’ans, illustrated Islamic manuscripts and scientific and religious manuscripts. All are handsomely illustrated and fully discussed. The manuscripts are from all parts of the Islamic world and represent the finest achievements of the form. More
Illuminator, painter, scribe, clerk, teacher, doctor of theology, restorer and binder, Mesrop was one of the greatest Armenian artists of his and following generations. He was prolific, working for at least forty-two years in Sos (New Julfa) from 1608 to 1651. This book will be the first serious study of the 46 of his manuscripts that have survived. The focus of the book, however, is The Four Gospels, one of the few manuscripts painted entirely by Mesrop’s hand and one of the most extensively illuminated in his oeuvre. More
This book is devoted to a monumental and superbly illuminated very large early fourteenth-century Mamluk Qur’an in muhaqqaq script. It constitutes the final part (Juz’ 30) of a superb two-volume Qur’an of which the first volume is preserved in the National Museum in Damascus while the second volume, from which the present section originates, is widely dispersed. More
In the winter of 1586, Hakob Jughayets'i, one of Armenia's most celebrated illuminators, completed work on a Gospel Book with an extensive and extraordinary programme of narrative miniatures and marginal figures. More
This book is a complete catalogue and commentary on a remarkable series of 130 coloured drawings executed in North Italy, almost certainly Padua, in the 1450s by a group of artists in the circle of Andrea Mantegna. The drawings illustrate subjects from the Tacuinum Sanitatis or Table of Health. Subjects touched on include medicine, sport, farming, animal husbandry, natural history, shopping, cooking and manufacturing – constituting an extraordinary record of everyday life (and life style) in early Renaissance Italy. This manuscript is one of four known series of the kind, and the only one not published. More
This illuminated manuscript, a gradual of large size which the whole congregation of monks could see and read as they sang in choir (just as they are shown doing in an illustration in the manuscript itself), was previously unknown to scholars and has only recently come to light. It was clearly produced for a monastery of the Olivetan order, a branch of the Benedictines with a particular reverence for the Virgin Mary – probably Santa Maria di Baggio near Milan. More
Ethiopia has often attracted attention because of its unique position as an ancient Christian culture far into Africa. Many people have been fascinated by the brilliant colours and childlike directness of recent traditional Ethiopian art. Little attention, however, has been given to the great periods that this culture has witnessed in the past. The 15th century saw a magnificent flowering of painting… More
According to the Chaworth Roll, Egbert was ‘the first king of all England’, reigning 829–39. The Chaworth genealogical Roll of the kings of England was made in the 1320s for the Chaworth family, then it was brought up to date as far as Henry IV (1399–1413) and remained with Chaworth descendants until very recently. More
On the far Eastern edge of the Christian world – often isolated or overwhelmed by Christian cultures – the Armenians have produced a distinctive artistic tradition. The collection assembled here opens with the objects from the great medieval periods in Greater Armenia and the Kingdom of Cilicia. Later centuries are represented by paintings and books created in communities dominated by other cultures or far from the homeland, like the series of manuscripts here from Constantinople. More
Medieval art has been collected for at least 200 years, yet there is a perception that if it is not locked away in a monastery it has found its home in a museum long ago. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the richness and variety of what still lies unclaimed by history that makes this material so interesting. More
In the 1470s, one of the most innovative artists working in Bruges illuminated a Book of Hours for Jean Carpentin, lord of Gravile and prominent citizen of Normandy. Known as the Master of the Dresden Prayer Book after one of his other masterpieces, this artist and members of his workshop enriched the pages of Carpentin’s manuscript with miniatures, historiated initials and boldly coloured borders in which human figures, monsters and monkeys are framed by twisting branches of acanthus. More