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although this might have at first seemed disconnected, by

doing so they were in fact tapping into a centuries-old prac-

tice. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign art historian

Heather Grossman comments that a museum is a repository,

similar to, say, the treasury of a medieval court or mosque,

an ancient commercial storehouse, the burial hoard of a

wealthy merchant or even a market along a lively trade

route. She likens a museum experience to that of an Afghan

court painter granted occasional access to his patron’s

library, or a potter whose brother lets him slip inside a

commercial storeroom, or a wood carver or jeweler brows-

ing through imported textiles and metalwork at a market.

Dewar’s workshops also echoed another traditional process,

one that Ludovico V. Geymonat of the Max Planck Institute for

Art History in Rome described in a 2012 issue of the journal

Medi-

eval Encounters

. He argued that the draftsman of the 13th-century

Wolfentbüttel Musterbuch

, considered the quintessential medieval

book of artistic models, was not so much

copying

statues he saw

on his travels as he was sketching

his responses to them

, thereby

“exercising the hand, memory and imagination.” Once back home,

Grossman explains, the draftsman would then refer not to the orig-

inals that caught his eye, but to the ideas they inspired.

uring her time at the

MIA

, 26-year-old Turquoise

Mountain painter Fakhria Nezami followed in the

draftsman’s footsteps. She found herself drawn time

and again to a 15th-century dish from Iran on which

a peacock was profiled in cobalt-blue glaze, its tail

arching over its body to echo the curve of its slender neck.

More playful than resplendent, the bird looked ready to nip

Above:

Storai Stanizai facets a gemstone and,

bottom

right,

applies the finishing touches to one of her jewelry

creations. Initially a student in miniature painting and

calligraphy, she switched to jewelry and now often

combines the two media.

Top right:

Master jeweler Abdul

Azim works in the studio in Kabul.

“BEING WITH A WORK PHYSICALLY, WE CAN LOOK AT

IT FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES. WE CAN EXAMINE THE

QUALITY, THE TEXTURE,” SAYS ABDUL MATIN

MALEKZADA, HEAD OF CERAMICS AT TURQUOISE

MOUNTAIN. SEEING PHOTOGRAPHS “DOESN'T

EVEN COME CLOSE.”

16

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