VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Sufi Poster
SMV 88-310 810
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Since the early 20th century colourful, visually fascinating posters depicting Muslim saints and their shrines are mass-produced in South Asia and used as basic devotional commodities. These polychrome prints are semiotically complex and meaningful in the sense that they are statements of spiritual authority and also serve as a medium of remembering, honouring and venerating Sufi saints. Being aware that these powerful images which are perceived as both aesthetically appealing and meaningful by the devotees, the Museum of Ethnology in Munich started to collect this subaltern, non-elite art in 1988 and now holds a considerable poster collection with about 300 Sufi posters alone. This poster, the finest in our collection, shows a well-balanced composition depicting the saint Abdul Qadir Jilani in the context of a miracle story. The great saint of Baghdad, who is seated on an exquisitely decorated throne hovering in the air above the sea, miraculously saved the shipwrecked sailors depicted below and lifted the boat with his right hand. In the left corner a weeping mother of one of the sailors is imploring the saint for help. Rich in iconography and narrative in character, this Sufi poster is a masterful example of a popular genre of contemporary religious art in the Muslim East.

History of the Object
This example of contemporary poster art from Pakistan was collected during ethnographical fieldwork in March 1988 at the shrine of a Sufi saint in Rawalpindi. It had been designed and collaged by Sarwar Khan and Saeed Khan as No. 69 of a series and printed in Lahore.

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Type
Print 
Materials
Paper 
Measurements
Width 35,4 cm. Height 48,2 cm.  
Creator name
Sarwar Khan and Saeed Khan 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Pakistan 
Geography
Pakistan 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century; 1970s-1980s 
Function
Devotion 
Acquisition
Acquired in 1988 after having been collected on an ethnographical field trip in March 1988 in Rawalpindi. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State Property, Germany 
Museum
Five Continents Museum, Munich 
Credit line
State Museum of Ethnology Munich 

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