Indo-Persian Art at the Crossroads presents works from SAM's collection of art that illustrates continuities between Indian and Persian painting while highlighting the subcontinent’s place as a cultural crossroads between Europe and Asia. From the 11th century onward, northern India was ruled by a number of Muslim sultanates, culminating in the establishment of the Mughal dynasty in 1526, the most dominant Islamic empire in the history of the subcontinent.
During India’s various periods of Muslim rule, the Persian language—and its associated literary classics—served as a cultural bridge with Islamic courts to the west. Book painting in Iran and Central Asia influenced production in India, and portable works of art—objects, calligraphies, paintings—circulated widely and created shared patterns of taste and cosmopolitanism from Shiraz to Delhi. While cultivating cultural exchange with one another, Persian and Indian courts simultaneously looked further east and west for artistic resources and inspiration. The arts of ceramics and jade developed in tandem with Chinese traditions, while European prints, paintings, and jewelry stimulated new techniques and motifs.
Portrait of Prince Khurram (Shah Jahan), Indian, Mughal period (1526-1858), first quarter 17th c., opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 9 5/8 x 5 5/8 in., overall: 17 1/2 x 12 1/8 in., Seattle Art Museum, Thomas D. Stimson Memorial Collection, gift of Mrs. Charles Mosely Clark, 44.650.