Yesterday we paid a visit to the Grunes Gewolbe (Green Vaults) in Dresden. It houses the lavish and extensive collection of crown jewels and precious objects which belonged to the rulers of Saxony. The extravagance of these kings is quite astounding, and yet it must be acknowledged that they had superb taste. From this myriad of splendours, there was one piece that really caught my eye: The Birthday of the Grand Moghul Aurangzeb (pictured here), by the sought after goldsmith Johann Melchior Dinglinger (1664-1731). The work depicts in miniature, Dinglinger’s vision of the royal court of Aurangzeb, the seventeenth century Moghul ruler. In the court we see several groups of envoys arriving from different parts of Asia to honour the ruler. A group arrive from China, one carrying a fan which even has Chinese characters painted on its reverse – the attention to detail is exquisite. Other figures carry colourful parasols and unusual gifts. The walls of the court are mirrored, cleverly reflecting the proceedings and the glittering enamel, jewels, gold and silver. This is a fantastical rather than entirely accurate representation of a distant land, its charm increasing further because of Dinglinger’s wonderful, playful imagination.
The moghul Emperor, Aurangzeb, who was in reality a rather cruel ruler.
Each individual element of this lively piece tells a story and is a splendid and complete work of art in itself. I would urge anyone who can, to visit this collection one day.