Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pair of Flower Style Doors

Object Name:
Pair of doors
second half 17th century
Made in Northern India
Wood; carved with residues of paint
H. 73 in. (185.4 cm) W. 30 in. (76.2 cm) includes both doors D. 3 in. (7.6 cm) Wt. 63 lbs. (28.6 kg)
Credit Line:
Gift of Harvey and Elizabeth Plotnick, 2009
Accession Number:
2009.376a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
The flower style associated with the height of Mughal aesthetics and refinement finds expression in this pair of carved wood doors. The depiction of complete flowering plants, carved in low relief and placed in a symmetrical arrangement, is the hallmark of this style, which had its genesis in the reign of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (1605–27). In accordance with their patrons' interests, artists of this period studied European herbals, borrowing the techniques of combining front and side views and infusing the petals and leaves of the plants with a sense of movement. During the reign of Jahangir's son Shah Jahan (1627–58), and especially from the 1630s on, the plant studies were transformed into decorative motifs, arranged in rows to cover textiles, objects, and architectural spaces. As they were incorporated into stylized, symmetrically balanced compositions like those on the carved dadoes and inlaid panels at the Taj Mahal, the plants lost their botanical specificity.
The use of wood was limited in Mughal architecture, and little of it remains. These doors are thus rare survivals of a tradition known through only a few other examples, including a pair of similar doors in the David Collection, Copenhagen.
William K. Ehrenfeld, San Francisco (until about 2002; sold to McInerney); [ Terence McInerney, New York, about 2002–4; sold to Plotnick]; Harvey and Elizabeth Plotnick, Chicago (2004–9; gifted to MMA)
"A Selection: 2008–2010." Recent Acquisitions vol. 68, no. 2 (Fall 2010). p. 34.

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 259, pp. 340, 369-370, ill. p. 370 (color).

Related Objects

Dagger with Hilt in the Form of a Blue Bull (Nilgai)

Date: ca. 1640 Medium: Hilt: Nephrite Blade: Watered steel Accession: 1985.58a, b On view in:Gallery 463

Footed Bowl and Plate

Date: first half 18th century Medium: Glass, opalescent white; blown, bowl with applied stem and blown applied foot, fired silver and gold decoration Accession: 2000.490a, b On view in:Gallery 463

"Shah Jahan on a Terrace, Holding a Pendant Set With His Portrait", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album

Artist: Painting by Chitarman (active ca. 1627–70) Date: recto: 1627–28; verso: ca. 1530–50 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: On view in:Gallery 463

The House of Bijapur

Artist: Painting by Kamal Muhammad (active 1680s) Date: ca. 1680 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper Accession: 1982.213 On view in:Gallery 463

Goa Stone and Gold Case

Date: late 17th–early 18th century Medium: Container: gold; pierced, repoussé, with cast legs and finials Goa stone: compound of organic and inorganic materials Accession: 2004.244a–d On view in:Gallery 463