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Activity / challenge

Shamsa: the missing piece

Shamsa or sunburst
Shamsa or sunburst

The Padshnama: opening shamsa ©

Many beautiful South Asian Islamic manuscripts began with a colourful design called a shamsa. Shamsa means ‘sun’ in Persian, and the image was regularly placed on the front of manuscripts that were made for royalty.

The shamsa represents divine light, and as well as featuring on manuscripts the image also appears on portraits in the form of a halo.

In this activity, a piece of the shamsa has gone missing! Can you fill in the missing piece?


Shamsa: missing piece

Related exhibition
Eastern Encounters

The long relationship between the Crown and South Asia