India 16-18 century, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

The Mughal Empire in India lasted from 1526 until (technically) 1858, although from the late 17th century power flowed away from the emperors to local rulers, and later European powers, above all the British Raj, who were the main power in India by the late 18th century. The period is most notable for luxury arts of the court, and Mughal styles heavily influenced local Hindu and later Sikh rulers as well. The Mughal miniature began by importing Persian artists, especially a group brought back by Humayun when in exile in Safavid Persia, but soon local artists, many Hindu, were trained in the style. Realistic portraiture, and images of animals and plants, was developed in Mughal art beyond what the Persians had so far achieved, and the size of miniatures increased, sometimes onto canvas. The Mughal court had access to European prints and other art, and these had increasing influence, shown in the gradual introduction of aspects of Western graphical perspective, and a wider range of poses in the human figure. Some Western images were directly copied or borrowed from. As the courts of local Nawabs developed, distinct provincial styles with stronger influence from traditional Indian painting developed in both Muslim and Hindu princely courts.

The arts of jewelry and hardstone carving of gemstones, such as jasper, jade, adorned with rubies, diamonds and emeralds are mentioned by the Mughal chronicler Abu’l Fazl, and a range of examples survive; the series of hard stone daggers in the form of horses’ heads is particularly impressive.

The Mughals were also fine metallurgists they introduced Damascus steel and refined the locally produced Wootz steel, the Mughals also introduced the “bidri” technique of metalwork in which silver motifs are pressed against a black background. Famous Mughal metallurgists like Ali Kashmiri and Muhammed Salih Thatawi created the seamless celestial globes.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

The Museum of Islamic Art (Arabic: متحف الفن الإسلامي‎‎,) is a museum located on one end of the seven kilometers long Corniche in the Qatari capital, Doha. As with the architect I. M. Pei’s requirement, the museum is built on an island off an artificial projecting peninsula near the traditional dhow (wooden Qatari boat) harbor. A purpose-built park surrounds the edifice on the Eastern and Southern facades while 2 bridges connect the Southern front facade of the property with the main peninsula that holds the park. The Western and Northern facades are marked by the harbor showcasing the Qatari seafaring past.

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) represents Islamic art from three continents over 1,400 years. Its collection includes metal work, ceramics, jewelry, wood work, textiles and glass obtained from three continents and dating from the 7th to the 19th century.

Qatar’s ambition to become the most important cultural destination of the Gulf’s area was made concrete in 2008 with the opening of the MIA, the Museum of Islamic Art. It was designed by I.M. Pei, the Chinese-American architect that notably built the glass pyramid for the Louvre in Paris. It is considered to be one of the world’s great museums.

The art scene in Qatar witnessed substantial development in the mid- and late 1950s. Initially, arts were overseen by the Ministry of Education, with art exhibitions being hosted in its facilities. In 1972, the government started providing increased funding to aid the development of arts within the country. The father of modern artists in Qatar is Jassim Zaini (1943-2012) whose work explored diversity in techniques and documented the changing society from traditional local life to a global style. The Qatari Fine Arts Society was established in 1980 with the objective of promoting the works of Qatari artists.In 1998, the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage was established. Qatar Museums was established in the early 2000s to build and connect all museums and collections in Qatar. Two major museums lead the institution: the Museum of Islamic Art opened in 2008, and the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, opened in Education City Qatar Foundation in 2010.