‘No equal in
all the world’
artistic legacies
of Herat, Afghanistan

3 March –
3 July 2011

Exhibition closed

Room 34

The works in this small display celebrate the visual culture of Herat and Afghanistan.

The artistic traditions developed in this region from the 1100s to the present day extend far beyond the modern boundaries of Afghanistan.

Herat enjoyed acclaim as one of the great cultural centres of the Islamic world. In his memoirs, the Mughal emperor Babur (reigned 1526–1530) eagerly anticipated a visit to Herat, ‘which had no equal in all the world.’ In the medieval period, it was renowned for its production of inlaid metalwork. In the 1400s, however, the city was lauded for the countless cultural achievements of Babur’s Timurid ancestors, Turco-Mongol warriors who ruled over Iran and Central Asia at the time.

The sophistication achieved in the courtly art and architecture of this period inspired the work of Safavid, Uzbek, Mughal and Ottoman artists active later in, respectively, Iran, Central Asia, India and Turkey.

Related exhibition

Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World
3 March – 3 July 2011

Brass, silver and gold mashraba (jug)

Brass, silver and gold mashraba (jug) inscribed with Persian poetry by Hafiz in thuluth script. From Herat, Afghanistan. c. 1480–1500.