Sunday, December 04, 2016

Advent 2

One of the perks of membership in the Metropolitan Museum is a periodic review of recent acquisitions. The latest such includes a 400 year old nativity scene attributed to the Mughal artist Manohar.

The catalog description evokes out the amazingly cosmopolitan world of Mughal India: The Virgin Mary and infant Jesus, seated on a floral carpet, are honored with an offering of a plate of fruit, visible in the foreground, consistent with the Hindu devotional practice of prasad (offering). They are attended by three angels, one bearing a gold censer and another with a Chinese-style blue-and-white porcelain bowl decorated with geese. Their feathery bodies and faces resemble those of the peris, or fairies, of Indo-Islamic painting. 

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