Featured Tapestries

Mappamundi

Gulammohammed Sheikh’s fascination for painted maps was triggered by a picture postcard he found in the British Library bookshop of a 13th-century map of the world known as the Ebstorf Mappamundi. When Sheikh learned that the original parchment map was destroyed during the allied bombing in World War II, he used the image as inspiration for making his own world maps.

Over five years Sheikh created approximately 15 versions of Mappamundi, each a melting pot of Eastern and Western culture, history and contemporary events. His Mappamundis feature stylistic influences ranging from Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Piero della Francesca to Mughal painting, and contain a medley of Hindu and Muslim references to religious ritual, family customs, Indian village life and contemporary events such as the destruction of the Bamyam Buddha in Afghanistan. The Mappamundi tapestry depicts the map framed in each corner by the symbolic figures of Mary Magdalene reaching out to Christ, Kabir weaving the shroud, Rama chasing elusive deer and a mad mystic, dancing. By an uncanny coincidence, the dimensions of the finished tapestry resemble those of the original, lost Ebstorf Mappamundi.

Sheikh was born in Gujarat, India, and has exhibited extensively in India and internationally for over 50 years. In 1962 he received the National Award from Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi; in 1998 was the recipient of the Ravishankar Rawal Award; and in 2002 was awarded Kalidas Samman from the Madhya Pradesh Government. Sheikh participated in the Paris Biennale of 1963 and the India Triennale in 1975. His work appears in the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Roopankar Museum of Fine Arts, Bhopal.

Gulammohammed Sheikh- Asia Link

Collection: Asia Link, University of Melbourne