Expressive style of Muhammad Murad Samarkandi (Part II)


Expressive style of Muhammad Murad Samarkandi (Part II)

The name of Muhammad Murad was also discovered on some other miniatures from world collections.

Expressive style of Muhammad Murad Samarkandi (Part II)

An example of this is the big miniature “А girl with a bowl” from a private collection, which features a kind of “Oriental muse.” Her clothes and surroundings are filled with motifs of oriental poetry miniatures: there are youths and girls with bowls, a loving couple, servants with food and jugs, a lyrical hero reading verse as well as animals and birds amongst flowering spring trees. The lines of the drawing are fluid and the drawing of bodies and details is precise and clear; the miniature has a special melodious character. Some scholars conclude that this work forms a pair with the miniature “Reading young people” (Paris, the Louvre), the main figure of which was drawn by the miniaturist Muhammad Sharif, and illustrations in the margins by Muhammad Murad.

Both miniatures are very beautiful, but the style of drawing differs from that in the illustrations to the “Shah-nama.” They do not have the dynamic and nervous tension, so evident in the Khiva copy of Firdawsi. How can this be explained? Did the artist change his style or it was it another Muhammad Murad from Samarkand (this name was widespread among Muslims)? This question has yet to be answered.

In the collection of the Institute another miniature signed by Muhammad Murad (Inventory No. M-30) was discovered. It shows a noble young man in clothes and headdress typical of the Indian court at the beginning of the 17th century. This portrayal corresponds closely with that of a court grandee with a falcon on the miniature dated to around 1610 in the collection of Rothschild 35. The gold inscription on this miniature is “Padshah-i Turkestan.” Muhammad Murad clearly drew a portrait of a real person with Indian features, but the landscape is of Central Asian-Iranian rather than Indian style.

You can learn more about this topic in the book-album “The Collection of the Al-Biruni Institute of Oriental studies, the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan” (part five, “Miniature and Calligraphy”) (Volume XXV) from the series "The Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan". 

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