The Delhi court had two prominent masters from Samarkand, — Muhammad-Murad and Muhammad-Nadir. Of special prominence was Muhammad-Nadir Samarkandi, who worked in Delhi from the year 1590 up to the middle of the seventeenth century. He won fame as an outstanding portrait-painter both, of single and group portraits (the so-called «derbars», i.e. scenes of court receptions). Muhammad-Nadir is thought to be the founder of a special graphic manner «siyakhi-kalium»: i.e. to have introduced a volume-plastic face portrait, done in Indian ink. He was also a master of genre compositions, hence, his miniature «Merchants pulling Yussuf out of the Well» (SPL, Dorn-489), — a blend of Central Asian and Indian styles.
ULUGH BEK. Fragment of miniature «Ulugh Bek with family and suite on a falconry». The Freer Gallery. MS. Washington
In the seventeenth century the miniature of Central Asia went on perfecting and evolving the stylistic tendencies of the past. Nonetheless, this was the closing, so to speak, the «blindalley» period in its history. Despite its superb professional merits, it lacks innovations entirely indispensable in promoting advancement in art.
The art of miniature painting in Central Asia seemingly belongs to the past. And yet its certain features, although modified (in monumental murals, tile panels, oil paintings and engravings) are clearly visible in the works of Soviet painters, in particular, whenever their subject is the classics of Oriental literature, historical matter, or folk-tales.
The best in these creations was achieved not by a mere stylization “a l'antique” but by an adoption of the principles that had been worked out by the masters of miniature. This is a proving evidence of the fact that creative discoveries in art of the past epochs do not die and that artistic heritage is a life-giving spring continuously watering the soil for new shoots of the beautiful.
The review of the best and though not quite perfect but typical examples of Central Asia miniature of the 15th—17th centuries makes it apparent that it was not a declining offshoot of the miniature painting of the Middle Est, as it was considered until recently, but one of its numerous deep channels. Similar to a river, it occasionally diverged into several branches, but then they all got together into a single flow taking in all the streams of idea from the outside and handing off creative spurts away to distant countries.