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'Roots of Islam's Miniature Painting, Calligraphy Are Afghan'

16 Jul 2020 Tolo News

The Ministry of Information and Culture said Wednesday that miniatures and calligraphy should not be identified with Iran and Turkey in the United Nations Scientific, Cultural and Educational Organization or UNESCO.

Syed Daoud Hussaini, owner of a gallery in the Shar-e-Naw area of Kabul, said that miniatures and calligraphy are Afghanistan’s art.

“Those who are most interested in buying miniature paintings are our own Afghans because this is the art of our own country,” said Hussaini.

The painter and calligrapher, who has been painting in the style of Kamal al-din Bihzad’s school (a Persian painter during the late Timurid and early Safavid Persian periods) for 30 years, says he is very sad that Iran and Turkey are trying to register the art of miniatures and calligraphy for their country names in UNESCO.

The Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture says that Kamaluddin Bihzad founded miniature Islamic painting and then the Nastaliq script in Herat during the Timurid period amid the reigns of Sultan Husayn Bayqara (he was the Timurid ruler of Herat) and Amir Ali-Shir Nava'i.

“Anyone who knows a miniature anywhere in the world, if you ask them about a miniature, he/she will say that the best miniature is Kamal al-din Bihzad, and Bihzad was from Herat province of Afghanistan,” said Mohammad Younos Qani, a painter of miniatures.

The acting minister of information and culture also protested against the action of Turkey and Iran to register miniature art and calligraphy in the names of their countries.

Tahir Zuhair, acting minister of information and culture, said: "We claim that the basis of this art is rooted in Afghanistan and we have the right to claim its ownership but we also acknowledge that others shared in this."

Afghanistan's deputy minister of information and culture, Mohammad Rasoul Bawari, says that Kamal al-din Bihzad was an artist who introduced the living image of life into painting and left a school of thought in his own name.

“Bihzad's skill was to choose a very limited space and incorporate the concept of greatness into it,” said Bawari.

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