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Rosette (shamsa)

Rosette (shamsa) bearing the name and titles of Emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628–58), Mughal, 17th century Attributed to India Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

Rosette (shamsa) bearing the name and titles of Emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628–58), Mughal, 17th century Attributed to India Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

This shamsa is an exquisite example of the art of illumination in the Mughal period. The profusion and gem-like detail of the floral decoration of the rosette, set along scrolling vines, can be traced to the illumination of the late Timurid period. Known as the international Timurid style, this style features veritable gardens of flowers in its illumination. It spread as far as Ottoman lands, epitomized by the sukufe floral style of Ottoman illumination. Gold and lapis lazuli are used to rich effect here, also echoing earlier Timurid and Safavid illumination techniques.
Under Jahangir and his successor, Shah Jahan, the number of manuscripts produced by the imperial atelier was greatly reduced, resulting in fewer, and generally more elaborate, designs and manuscripts such as this.

  • ottoman illumination art
  • islamic rosette
  • ottoman illumination
  • the art and architecture of islamic india

About the Author
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, in the City of New York. The Museum's collection of Islamic art ranges in date from the seventh to the nineteenth century. Its nearly twelve thousand objects reflect the great diversity and range of the cultural traditions of Islam, with works from as far westward as Spain and Morocco and as far eastward as Central Asia and India. Comprising sacred and secular objects, the collection reveals the mutual influence of artistic practices such as calligraphy, and the exchange of motifs such as vegetal ornament (the arabesque) and geometric patterning in both realms.
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