As flores do Imperador: Do bolbo ao tapete

Translated title of the contribution: The Emperor's Flowers: From bulb to carpet

Teresa Nobre de Carvalho (Photographer), Clara Serra (Other), Mariano Piçarra (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


During the sixteenth century, the widespread relationships that Europeans established with the rest of the world reshaped their knowledge of nature. New products and plant and animal species arrived from Indies. From the Levant came exotic flower seeds and bulbs. The greatly admired beauty of these flowers led to an increasing focus from botanists on the study of exotic and local flora. Much sought after and appreciated by enthusiasts, scholars and aristocrats, flowers earned a special place in the botanical gardens that were created at the time, although only the gardens of the most fortunate contained specimens of these highly sought after exotic plants. Described by scholars and botanists, flowers were represented in lavishly illustrated albums. These publications were widely distributed throughout Europe and in the extensive imperial regions across which Europeans journeyed. Taken by European travellers and emissaries on their diplomatic, religious and commercial missions, they arrived at the end of the sixteenth century at the Mughal Court where they were held in high regard. Under imperial patronage, local artists adopted the drawing techniques and models of representation found in these European books.

This exhibition offers an analysis of the decorative motifs of two rugs in the Islamic Art Collection of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum – Founder’s Collection – produced in Mughal India during the reign of Shah Jahan (1627-1658). The type and naturalistic quality of the floral designs in these pieces evokes the dialogues established between East and West throughout the seventeenth century and the movement, on a global scale, of people, books, images and botanical specimens.
Translated title of the contributionThe Emperor's Flowers: From bulb to carpet
Original languagePortuguese
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherFundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2018


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