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Indian School, 17th century

Paintings of Persian men in a garden and a lioness. c. 1600-1650

RCIN 1005069.t

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The upper tier of the pavilion is inscribed with Persian script which emphasises the paradisiacal qualities of this garden. The miniature may depict a ‘Garden of Eight Paradises’ (‘Hasht Bihisht’) a famous literary garden described around 1302 AD by the Persian poet Amir Khusro. The artist emphasised that this is no ordinary garden by depicting non-native species such as zinnias, French marigolds and poinsettia, which had reached India from Mexico via Spain and Portugal c.1550. This anticipates European artists’ interest in exotic plant imports later in the seventeenth century.