A Mughal Painting high-steps into our hearts

A Mughal Painting high-steps into our hearts

Our newest hand-knotted heritage rug, A Mughal Painting, celebrates the colour and detail at the heart of Mughal art, sharing the tradition and joy of visual storytelling, as well as Mother Nature’s powerful influence – all of which have been around for centuries.

Inspired by the Mughal miniature paintings of the 16 th century, Wendy was drawn to the bright, pure colour, level of detail, links to the natural world, and storytelling aspect, which are at the heart of this ancient art.

Established around 1580, the great age of Mughal art lasted until 1650. Hindu and Muslim artists and craftsmen worked with Iranian masters in the royal workshops of the emperor of the day. The diverse traditions and fusion of Persian, Indian and Central Asian influences resulted in a radically new style of art, supported by the royal court. 

Mughal Miniatures

‘I first became aware of Mughal Miniatures on visits to India,’ Wendy explains. ‘The bright and pure colouring of the Persian miniature is one of this style of painting's most striking features, along with their storytelling nature. It was just a matter of time before I tried to create my own rug interpretation.’

Wendy immersed herself in the history of the Mughal period and discovered the 4th Emperor Jahangir was a great lover of nature and beauty. His experiences of nature were an ongoing source of joy for him and were preserved through the brushwork of his artists.

‘Accuracy in the artworks was achieved by well-defined outlines and included maximum detail in Mughal studies of nature,’ Wendy explains. ‘Attention was paid to the use of pigments that reflect the actual colour of the subject. You can’t fail to admire the minute observation of the Mughal artists responsible for painting birds and animals - hairs, ears, eyes, tail, fur and plumage are so realistically depicted.’

Breaking new ground

Mughal art also broke new ground in the use and representation of the floral motif in painting. While flowers were an integral part of design in Indian art from very early times, it was only with the emergence of the Mughal school that they became subjects of paintings, rather than embellishments.

These ideas, history, style and inspirations combine in new design A Mughal Painting, which features a black and white horse at her centre. Associated with strength, courage, and freedom, the horse is a majestic representation of nature. The elegant creature high-steps through exotic flora, while a pair of swallows playfully dart around a tall palm tree. Set against a stunning blue and lilac ombre sky, every element suggests the warmth and light of far-away climes, the sheer exuberance of life and the ultimate joy of being free to enjoy nature.

The swallow is often associated with spring and summer, a reawakening, rebirth and new life. It is known for being linked to positive traits, which include loyalty and cheerfulness, often symbolising love and devotion. Seeing a swallow is often considered a sign of good luck or positive change.

Border beauty

These central motifs are cocooned within a gold-etched double border of beautiful birds and blooms, all set against a pale wool base. The pale backdrop serves to open the design further, lending a sense of expansive, open-air horizons, and makes this an easy design to place. The detailed border is also a lovely nod to the way original Mughal miniature paintings were often displayed.

The colours – all picked out in shimmering silk – are soft and gentle, calming and restorative. This is a design to breathe in and relax around – she has a soothing quality. One of the most significant colours in A Mughal Painting – lilac – is the shade associated with the Crown Chakra, the energy centre with a connection to spirituality and enlightenment; a further reference to being aware of our connection to the world around us.

A Mughal Painting, with her focus on all my favourite elements of nature, comes from the heart,’ Wendy says. ‘As well as the central horse, which always holds a special place for me, she is very much a celebration of all my favourite things and that brings me joy,’ she adds.

‘It is clear to me, looking at Mughal art, that nature has always been a source of inspiration and beauty to humankind. Our connection to nature is essential, and we must work to cultivate a sense of stewardship and responsibility to our natural world.’

A Mughal Painting was photographed in Wendy’s bedroom, teamed with Joie de Vivre wallpaper, which was a gorgeous combination, picking up the green beautifully. Also seen here is A Mughal Painting Crewel and Cushion, which will both be released later this year. The hand-knotted rug measures 335cm x 244cm and is available as a custom size.

Playful, beautiful, detailed, thoughtful and inspiring, A Mughal Painting draws the past into the present, and shines a powerful spotlight on the beauty and importance of the world around us. Brought to life using the highly skilled, hand-knotted technique, this is a design that weaves traditional ideas with modern creativity in a rug intended to spread joy and happiness for decades to come.

Back to Journal