The point of this blog is not about power but about cultural influence. We have written recently about the major sport of the Mongol people which naturally takes place on horseback. We know it in the West as polo. Among the Turkmen in Afghanistan it is called buz kashi.
As the khanates expanded the sport went with them. The Mongols who settled in Persia influenced the people they found there. I will point to just one great example of that in this blog.
The horses must be swift and agile. The artists varied in their ability to paint the horses as they really were. After all, the artist is not usually the athlete who engages in contact sport.
This piece of art is not only traditional in its content, but also in the technique of creating the Isfahan school of miniatures in the 1800s.
The artist used the traditional technique of building up layers of lacquered pigment. The underlay is of thinly applied gold. Then the artist goes to work with a brush made of a single hair for much of the scene, especially the plants and outlines of the figures.
The under layer of gold pigment gives the art a special glow that adds to the luminescence of the pearl base.
The Isfahan school of Persian miniature art flourished from the 1400s to the 1700s when it was at its height. After that time, the masters began to explore more naturalistic themes and departed from the action narratives as their subject, usually a scene based on one of the cultural mythic subjects such as warfare, hunting, or court scenes.
The mother of pearl became a desirable base for the masters of the 1800s; this piece fits into that later period of the Isfahan school of Persian miniatures. I collected it in Teheran, Iran in 1971. This particular piece was evidently chipped at the time of the painting or in the shaping of the original piece of shell. The chip is old and shares the same patina of the overall piece. The bottom outline of the painting ends above the tiny chip.
Measurements: 4.4 cm (1.75 inches) x 6.6 cm (2.6 inches) More information at this link: http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/craftsofthepast/4353627