until 27 | 10 | 2013

Flowers – Trees – Gardens of the Gods

Flowers, trees and gardens are key elements in traditional Indian painting – and in Indian life. Visitors are welcomed with flower garlands. Flowers are sacrificed in the temple or on an altar at home during daily prayers. Sacred trees are often located close to temples, not only to provide shade for priests and the faithful but also as homes for the gods. Hindus see thriving gardens as the setting for the lively activities of their gods. For Muslims, gardens offer a foretaste of paradise.

Indische Miniaturen 3.12 150x150

Flowers, trees and gardens are depicted on countless miniature paintings. Often these serve only as adornment, or background, yet they contribute significantly to the atmosphere and beauty of these small works of art. With their surprising wealth of precise detail, such paintings provide many insights into religious, cultural and historical references to plants and trees. They gracefully portray the happiness that Indian people derive from flowers and gardens.

In northern India, miniature painting is a centuries-old art form. The genre was strongly supported and promoted by Mughal emperors during the 16th century and remains a vibrant tradition to this day. The paintings exhibited here are from a private German collection begun in 1976.