19 October 2016 – 13 February 2017

Selected within the MNAAG collections, some 70 of the most beautiful pages of Indian miniatures from the principal painting schools that dazzlingly flourished from the 16th to the 19th century – Mughal School, Schools of Deccan, Rajasthan, and Punjab Hills – highlight a decade of acquisitions that continue to enlarge the rich panorama of Indian painting. An ode to delicacy and refinement.

Historic and literary manuscripts, portraits, representations of fauna and flora, court scenes and genre scenes, masterpieces of Persian or Indo-Persian literature, illustrations of the great Epics of Hinduism, personified musical modes (Ragamala), such are the variations of this Indian anthology with its boundless creativity.
In 1555, after the Emperor Humayun’s return from exile, a particularly brilliant art of the book blossomed, a result of the work of Hindu or Muslim painters gathered since the reign of Akbar (1556-1605) in a same imperial workshop. Thus came to thrive an exquisitely attentive art dedicated to Nature, love of the picturesque, and a singular sense of space, the first stages of a universal art of the book, addressing the grand themes of the human adventure, illustrating epics and the great history chronicles of the Mughal rulers.

Fauna and Flora
Representations of fauna and flora in India form a separate genre in Mughal painting, attested in the late 16th century in the natural history pages of the various manuscripts of the Baburnama, the Memoirs of the Emperor Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire in 1526.

Court Portraits
Delicate and poetic court portraits, with their highly codified iconography, often show a young prince meditating or reading in a bucolic setting. This archaisising taste for idealised portraits, inspired by very popular Persian models at the beginning of the reign of the Emperor Jahanghir (1605-1627), was relinquished for admirable portraits ruled by a keen realism.

Music and Mystic
Extremely popular with Mughal painters, the theme of the “mystic concert” poetically underscores the highly symbolical associations of ecstatic mystics and inspired musicians, joined in the same exaltation and intoxication of transcendence.

President of the MNAAG
Sophie Makariou

Amina Taha-Hussein Okada – general curator, India section of the MNAAG

Publication related to the exhibition

La Peinture en Inde
By Amina Taha-Hussein Okada
Coédition Nouvelles éditions Scala / MNAAG, collection Sentiers d’art
128 pages, 83 illustrations – price : 15,50 €

19 October 2016 – 6 February 2017

In Chinese thought “Breath” means vital impulse, primary energy. This is what the MNAAG offers you to discover while you contemplate six recent paintings by the artist Jiang Dahai. Inside the alcove formed by the rotunda on the fourth floor of the museum, the meditative dimension of the dome entirely opens up, allowing to fully appreciate the artist’s work.
At once silent and spatial, wavy and vertical, Jiang Dahai’s painting constantly intrigues and astonishes. The opportunity to come and watch the painter in the midst of his creation is all the more exceptional!

Born in Nanjing in 1946, Jiang Dahai was successively trained at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and the Beaux-Arts in Paris. This dual influence gave rise to a pictorial style borrowing from both Chinese landscape painting and Western abstraction. Heir to Zao Wou-ki and Chu Teh-Chun who also trod the streets of Paris, Jiang Dahai extends and renews the dialogue between our two cultures.
Backed up by an intimate knowledge of French art (Corot, Degas, Cézanne), but foreign art as well (Rothko and Morandi), Jiang Dahai makes us see Chinese and French painting traditions in an entirely new way.
From the simplest of techniques – the drop falling off the Chinese brush – the painter developed his own pictorial method, out of which spring immense sky landscapes where the motif of cloud and mist are reinterpreted. The beholder’s eye is invited to wander everywhere, and everywhere the work’s infinite chromatism astounds us.
Guided by the utmost concentration, at once random and purposeful, Jiang Dahai’s painting is illuminated by the minimal density of his gesture. To be able to follow it in every aspect and, like observing the potter who effortlessly creates a masterpiece out of a piece of clay erasing the very notion of difficulty, you will be able to measure the refinement of the artist’s practice while watching the artist paint before your very eyes.

Performances and painting in public

22 October and 26 November 2016


Carte Blanche à Jiang Dahai
Co-edition Musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet and Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais
48 pages including 16 inset plates, 27 illustrations
Price: 10 euros
Preface by Sophie Makariou and conversation between Jiang Dahai and Henry-Claude Cousseau, exhibition curator

President of the MNAAG

Sophie Makariou
Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet
6, place d’Iéna, 75116 Paris – www.guimet.fr


Henry-Claude Cousseau, Emeritus General Curator


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19 October 2016 – 16 January 2017

From the emperors of China – great intercessors between Heaven and 4 Earth -, who considered it a natural jewel, up to Cartier and the leading London and New York jewellers who sublimated it in the 20th century in the Art Déco creations inspired by the Chinese taste, jade remains this eternal and mythical stone, an object of fascination and absolute power for the sovereign.
Some 330 exceptional pieces will be assembled for the first time in France, coming from 15 prestigious national and international institutions including the National Palace Museum, Taipei, which is lending almost a third of the works on display. A unique opportunity for the MNAAG to present this “beautiful stone”, “the image of goodness” for Confucius, and unfold the millennial history that, since the Neolithic Period up to the 1920s, has constantly pondered over its beauty, its virtue, its symbol and its prestige.

A major expression of Chinese civilisation and a many-facetted material, jade belongs to the most ancient history of Chinese art. A tablet from the Neolithic Longshan culture (2300 – 1800 B.C.) evokes the precious lapidary who accompanied the emperor Qianlong all his life, for poems and seals to be engraved on the most beautiful jades of his collection.

The exhibition will strive to render jade since its origin and throughout its historical and geographic epopee and will touch on its symbolic, aesthetic, and scientific aspects. For the first time it will bring together, beside a selection of MNAAG jade works, two prestigious Chinese imperial collections never before shown together: those of the National Palace Museum, Taipei and those of the Château of Fontainebleau, forming an exceptional ensemble, enriched by numerous loans from the Louvre, the Musée des Arts décoratifs, the Musée Jacquemart-André, the Muséum d’Histoire naturelle…

Contemplated in the form of simple polished tablets offered as princely gifts, animal motifs drawn from an imperial bestiary, bowls, brush pots on the theme of literati or, in a more warlike manner, formidably sharp blades, jade is not only prized by emperors of China, sultans of Samarkand, Mughal sovereigns and Safavid shahs of Iran. For the Chinese it is more precious than gold and it enjoys an incomparable appeal in Europe, when Eastern jades appeared in the French royal collections in the 17th century, as attested by Cardinal Mazarin’s exceptional bowl.

The “Chinese Museum” of Fontainebleau formed by the Empress Eugénie presents the last jades, especially of the Qing Period (1644 – 1911), to enter the collections of the French sovereigns and coming from the sack of the Summer Palace in Peking. Later, Art Déco took over all the themes and all the periods of Chinese art, respecting in each “fragment of ancient art” the natural glow of jade, rock crystal or lacquer.

To the delight of women of fashion, in the early 20th century the Maison Cartier wrote a new episode in the taste for China in Paris, raising fine jewellery to its greatest level of excellency. This is shown by the exceptional jewels worn by some celebrities in the early century: the countess and art patron Mona Bismarck, the American Barbara Hutton whose necklace made of 27 beads of jadeite, inlaid with platinum, gold, diamond and ruby, will be displayed in the exhibition.

The exhibition will close on a large Coromandel lacquer screen produced under the reign of the emperor Kangxi (1662 – 1722), a furnishing item much sought after by the 18th-century European aristocracy.
In a set design inspired by China, punctuated with openwork wood exhibition screens, jade, in the entrance gallery of the exhibition, will lend itself to the visitors’ “touch”: two stone blocks, one rough and the other polished, are available to visitors, so each one will be able to feel all the richness of the material, together firm, soft, smooth, veined.

The exhibition is made possible by the exceptional loan from the National Palace Museum, Taipei.

President of MNAAG

Sophie Makariou, curator in charge


Marie-Catherine Rey, general curator
Huei-Chung Tsao, associate researcher


Exhibition catalogue

Couverture JadeCo-edition MNAAG/ Somogy
Edition d’art
Jade, from the Emperors to Art Déco
Edited by Huei-Chung Tsao
Prefaces: Sophie Makariou, President of the MNAAG and Lin Jeng-yi, Director of the National Palace Museum, Taipei
French and English versions
288 pages/ 277 illustrations
Public sales price French version:
38 € TTC
Public sales price English version:
45 € TTC

Exhibition album
Jade, from the Emperors
to Art Déco
Co edition
MNAAG/ Somogy Edition d’art
Edited by Huei-Chung Tsao and
Marie-Catherine Rey



Getting here

Opening hours

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