Muraqqa´: Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

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December 18, 2008 - March 01, 2009
Henry R. Luce Gallery (28)

Exhibition Overview

The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland, has one of the finest collections of Mughal paintings in the world. The Persian word muraqqa‘ means “album,” but more specifically it means “patched” or a “patched garment,” such as the patched cloak worn by Islamic mystics (Sufis) as a sign of poverty and humility. The name refers to the albums' patchwork construction: each of the album pages in the show consists of separate pieces of paper, usually produced in Iran (or Central Asia) and India over a period of 100 years or more.

The exhibition of 86 album paintings, calligraphies, and manuscripts from the library includes parts of a number of imperial albums made for the Indian Emporers Jahangir (ca. 1605) and Shah Jahan (r. 1628-57), who built the Taj Mahal. 

Through these rare works the exhibition will explore the function and place of album-making within the imperial family and the world of the Mughals. The exhibition is curated by Chester Beatty Library curator Elaine Wright.

For more on the exhibition, go to library's website at

See the Star Bulletin video interview with Academy Curator of Asian Art Shawn Eichman.   

Read the Star Bulletin's article on this exhibition. 

Read the New York Times review of this exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.

Exhibition catalogue by Elaine Wright, with contributions by Susan Stronge, Wheeler M. Thackston, Steven Cohen, Charles Horton, and Rachael Smith with Jessica Baldwin, 2008.

Won first prize for Best Illustrated Text and Best in Show at the recent Washington Book Publishers 2008 Design & Effectiveness Awards. 500 pages, color illustrations and essays. Softcover.

© The Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.

This exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.
Support for the national tour and catalogue has been provided by
The Annenberg Foundation
Culture Ireland
The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation
and an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

His Excellency Michael Collins, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States of America is Honorary Patron of the exhibition.