Uzbekistan's attainment of independence has excited keen interest in the country's national cultural heritage, particularly in the art of the medieval miniature. Miniature painting, one of the most impressive varieties of Middle Eastern art, absorbed perceptions and a poetic style that were specific to Muslim culture. It reached its height between the 15th and 17th centuries and gave the world such wonderful artists as Kamaliddin Bekhzad, Muhammad Murad Samarqandi, Qasim Ali, Sultan Muhammad and Mahmud Muzahhib, to name a few.
The spectacular rise of the art of miniatures was largely due to the creation of Amir Temur's great empire and to the patronage extended by the ruling dynasty to the development of art and culture. Samarkand, the heart of the empire, sent out powerful cultural waves and currents of creative ideas, since the traditions of different plastic and visual arts were evolving there. The remarkable contribution of artisans from Maverannahr was, to a large extent, crucial to the development of the miniature in Herat, Tabriz and eventually in India. The genre is universally regarded as a cultural phenomenon that significantly influenced the search for new forms in European painting in the early 20th century.
Today people in sovereign Uzbekistan wish to acknowledge the national heritage and creative achievements of the medieval masters. The study of the great Bekhzad's art is most appropriate in a coutnry that lays special emphasis on the revival of the traditions of national art and the promotion of its finest achievements. In the rich palette of Uzbekistan's contemporary art, which has absorbed the world's cultural experience as well as the national heritage, the tradition of the miniature occupies a very special place. Examining its origins guarantees that further exciting discoveries will be made in the national art.