The Middle Ages produced some amazing works of art. Some of the best are the illuminated manuscripts from the Islamic world.
The above image, courtesy Graham S. Haber and the Morgan Library & Museum shows a woman relaxing after her bath. It was painted in Herat, Afghanistan. In many parts of the medieval Islamic world it was forbidden to create images of living things, but in other regions it was common.
The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City has an extensive collection of these works of art and now they’re on display in an exhibition called Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan. The earliest manuscript in the exhibition is a late-thirteenth century treatise on animals and their uses considered by some experts as one of the most important medieval Islamic manuscripts. There’s also a biography of the poet Rumi, several richly decorated Korans, and illustrations from the story of Majnun and Laila, the Islamic Romeo and Juliet.
There’s even a treatise on demonology, but sadly not a copy of the Necronomicon.
Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan runs from 21 October 2011 to 29 January 2012.