Kabul and the quest for beauty: a tale of the miniaturists and the search for perfection

I was at Turquoise Mountain in Afghanistan when I met them.    Suddenly it all came rushing back to me.  

I remembered as a young girl looking at the gilded frames in my mother's bedroom.  In each was a painting -- small and very detailed.

 How do they do those? I asked her. 
Very carefully, she replied.  

But how can they paint with such tiny little lines?  I insisted.  
You learn how in school.  But you have to be very talented and very patient, she answered.

 Do they have a name, these kinds of paintings?  I asked.  
Yes, my mother said.  They're called "Persian miniatures."  

Years later, it seems I was meeting Afghan miniaturists in training.  






I wondered then, what it would be like to not paint in broad strokes.  To not let it all spill on to the page in a creative rush. Yes, I wondered what it would be like to take the time to paint only the finest lines.

Then --  no matter the sad and troubled events on the nightly Afghan news  -- you might be secure in the knowledge that you can always rely on your steady hand.  And find comfort in having inched closer to....


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