Aston Hall

Mughal Miniatures at Aston Hall

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“Thank you. I love nothing more than work that links the past to the present. I also love to see young people engaged in such work with such joy, passion and skill.” Audience Member

On 29th July 2023, we were delighted to team up with Birmingham Museums Trust to provide a unique day of performances and activities at Aston Hall to celebrate South Asian Heritage Month. South Asian Heritage Month is a period to honour, recognise, and appreciate South Asian history and culture, as well as to comprehend the rich cultural legacy of countries in South Asia.

Mughal Miniatures is a vibrant and unique performance event which takes inspiration from the exquisite art of Indian and Persian miniature painting - originating from the Mughal courts of 9th and 10th century. With activities running throughout the house and gardens, it was fantastic to see our three Mughal Miniatures shows performed in such a beautiful and historic setting.

Our fabulous walkabout performers roamed Lady Holte’s garden and the front lawn looking out for an audience to impress. Families could get up close to our proud and majestic peacock and dance with our prim and pretty princess. Mughal Miniature: The Awakening was performed in the stunning Long Gallery overseen by the beautiful old portraits of the Holte family and other important figures. Families watched our Indian Queen and her royal court wrestle with their restrictive societal roles and eventually break free. Under the shade of the trees in the North Courtyard, Mughal Miniatures: Animal Paradise we watched what happens when humans and animals meet – sometimes in conflict and sometimes in harmony. We were also joined by artist, Jane Thakoordin, who led a visual arts workshop where visitors could get hands on and create decorative birds with patterned paper and scrap fabrics.

Designed by John Thorpe and built by Sir Thomas Holte between 1618 to 1635, Aston Hall is one of the last great houses built in the Jacobean style. It is fascinating to think that while Aston Hall was being built in Birmingham UK, over 4,000 miles away in Uttar Pradesh, India, the Taj Mahal was also under construction. The Taj Muhal was commissioned in 1631 by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; who died in childbirth. With building starting in 1632 and was completed in 1648, the Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture. It is wonderful to think of these two simultaneous moments in cultural world history celebrated together through this event.

Mughal Miniatures has been supported by Without Walls and co-commissioned by Applause, Brighton Festival, Certain Blacks and Hat Fair.