The Stunning Miniature Paintings of Abdullah Bukhari, an 18th-Century Ottoman Artist

Abdullah Bukhari was an 18th-century Ottoman artist known for his intricate miniature paintings. Bukhari’s work was part of an exhibition titled Erotic: Passion & Desire, which also included a 200-year-old Ottoman erotica manuscript that was auctioned by Sotheby’s, the legendary London-based auction house.

Bukhari’s miniature paintings were sold for over AUD$50,000 in a private sale, attesting to the value and significance of his work. His paintings often depicted scenes from daily life, including landscapes, portraits, and historical events. However, Bukhari is perhaps best known for his erotic illustrations, which were considered scandalous at the time but are now appreciated for their beauty and historical significance.

The Ottoman Empire had a more liberal understanding of sexuality compared to its European contemporaries, and Bukhari’s erotic illustrations reflect this more open attitude. However, the Muslim world’s considerable erasure of queer history is undeniable, and Bukhari’s work represents a rare and valuable glimpse into a world that has largely been lost to history.

Despite the taboo nature of his subject matter, Bukhari’s work was highly sought after by collectors and art enthusiasts during his lifetime. Today, his paintings are considered masterpieces of Ottoman art and are held in high regard by collectors and museums around the world.

Bukhari’s miniature paintings represent an important part of Ottoman art history, and their sale is a reminder of the enduring appeal of art that challenges conventional norms and pushes the boundaries of what is considered acceptable. They are a testament to the beauty and complexity of human sexuality and a reminder of the ongoing struggle to preserve and celebrate queer history.

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