MUGHAL ART AND ARCHITECTURE

‡ The Mughal Empire was an Islamic and Persianate imperial power of the Indian subcontinent which began in 1526, invaded and ruled most of Hindustan (South Asia) by the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and ended in the mid-19thcentury.

‡ The Mughal Emperors were descendants of the Timurids, and at the height of their power around 1700, they controlled most of the Indian Subcontinent extending from Bengal in the east to Balochistan in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south. Its population at that time has been estimated as between 110 and 130 million, over a territory of over 4 million km² (1.5 million mi²).

All the significant monuments of the Mughals. better known as Akbar the Great. date to this period. It ended with the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707although the Empire continued for another 150 years. their most visible legacy. During this period. . the Empire was marked by a highly centralized administration connecting the different regions.‡ The "classic period" of the Empire started with the accession of Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar. in 1556.

Although early Mughals spoke the Chagatai language and maintained TurkoMongol practices. the Central Asian steppes once conquered by Genghis Khan and hence known as Moghulistan. "Land of Mongols". They transferred the Persian literature and culture to India. .‡ The name Mughal is derived from the original homelands of the Timurids. thus forming the base for the Indo-Persian culture. they were essentially Persianized.

when he took control of the Doab and eastern regions of Khorasan. In 1526.‡ The foundation for the empire was established around the early 1500s by the Timurid prince Babur. Rana Sanga offered stiff resistance but was defeated due to treachery within his own ranks. which controlled the fertile Sindh region and the lower valley of the Indus River. Ibrahim Shah Lodi. . at the Battle of Khanwa. Babur then had to face the formidable Rajput confederacy led by Rana Sanga of Chittor. To secure his newly founded kingdom. at the First Battle of Panipat. Babur defeated the last of the Delhi Sultans.

Humayun returned with a mixed army. reaching the Court of the Safavid rule in 1554 while his force still controlled some fortresses and small regions. raised more troops and managed to reconquer Delhi in 1555. But when the Pashtuns fell into disarray with the death of Sher Shah Suri.‡ Babur's son Humayun succeeded him in 1530 but suffered major reversals at the hands of the Pashtun Sher Shah Suri and effectively lost most of the fledgling empire before it could grow beyond a minor regional state. . From 1540 Humayun became a ruler in exile.

Akbar. and hunter. but left behind their infant son Jalaluddin to spare him the rigours of the journey. There he became an excellent outdoorsman. as Jalaluddin would be better known in his later years. and learned the arts of war. horseman. . but months later died in an accident.‡ Humayun crossed the rough terrain of the Makran people with his wife. The resurgent Humayun then conquered the central plateau around Delhi. leaving the realm unsettled and in war. was born in the town of Sindh in where he was raised by his uncle Askari.

while in the midst of a war against Sikandar Shah Suri for the throne of Delhi. as he was a wise ruler. set fair but steep taxes.‡ Akbar succeeded his father on 14 February. He saw this stiff resistance from the proud and strong Hindu heritage as the main reason why the Mughals had not succeeded in annexing the complete geographical extent of India. . He soon won his eighteenth victory at age 21 or 22. He became known as Akbar. 1556. He was a shrewder administrator than his predecessors and saw that the proud Hindu populace of India would not just cave in and convert to Islam which was the main goal of Mughal rulers before him.

. after his death this religion did not catch on but is still remembered for its noble intentions of bringing people and minds together. He made alliances with Rajputs and appointed Hindu generals and administrators. he also came up with his own brand of religion based on tolerance and inspired by views from both Hinduism and Islam.‡ So to be more organic and truly royal in his approach he gave up the main agenda of Islamic conquest of spreading religion. He also set up an efficient bureaucracy and was tolerant of religious differences which softened the resistance by the locals. However. Later in life. He investigated the production in a certain area and taxed inhabitants one-fifth of their agricultural produce.

son of Emperor Jahangir succeeded to the throne. Aurangzeb was the last of what are now referred to as the Great Mughal kings. son of Emperor Akbar.‡ Jahangir. ruled the empire from 1605 1627. Shah Jahan. By 1700 the empire reached its peak under the leadership of Aurangzeb Alamgir with major parts of present day India. who died giving birth to their 14th child. Shah Jahan commissioned the famous Taj Mahal (1630 1653) in Agra which was built by the Persian architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri as a tomb for Shah Jahan's wife Mumtaz Mahal. Pakistan and most of Afghanistan under its domain. At mid-century this was perhaps the greatest empire in the world. where he inherited a vast and rich empire. In October 1627. . He proceeded to apparently have the architect s hands cut off so that he would never be able to build a more beautiful building.

‡ The greatest portions of Mughal expansion was accomplished during the reign of Akbar (1556-1605). . Shah Jahan. The first six emperors. and Aurangzeb. who enjoyed power are usually referred to by just one name. The empire was maintained as the dominant force of the present-day Indian subcontinent for a hundred years further by his successors Jahangir. a title adopted upon his accession by each Emperor.

These policies.‡ Akbar the Great initiated certain important policies. he also adopted some policies of Sher Shah Suri. inclusion of Hindus in the affairs of the empire. which undoubtedly served to maintain the power and stability of the empire. such as the division of the empire into sarkars. and political alliance/marriage with the Hindu Rajput caste. as the fiercely proud Hindu populace had shown stiff resistance and no signs of meekly converting to the whims of Islamic conquest in its years in the Indian subcontinent. such as religious liberalism (abolition of the jizya tax). in his administration of the empire. . that were innovative for his milieu.

. Furthermore. who followed a more strict interpretation of Islam and followed a stricter policy of intolerance to the practice of religions than his own. the last battle being the Battle of Saraighat. Ahoms of Assam and some elements within Hindu Rajputs. Aurangzeb spent nearly his entire career seeking to expand his realm into the Deccan and south India. Sikhs of Punjab. this venture sapped the resources of the empire while provoking strong resistance from the Marathas.‡ These were preserved by his two immediate successors but were discarded by Aurangzeb. Assam in the east. Ahoms in Assam successfully resisted the mughal invasions.

Influence on the Indian Subcontinent of Mughals: ‡ The Taj Mahal in Agra. tombs and forts built by the dynasty stands today in Delhi. ‡ The palaces. Jaipur. Afghanistan and Bangladesh. which is known to be one of the finer examples of Mughal architecture. Red Fort. . ‡ A major Mughal contribution to the Indian Subcontinent was their unique architecture. With few memories of Central Asia. Agra Fort and Lahore Fort. Aurangabad. Fatehpur Sikri. and became more or less naturalised. especially Shahjahan. Agra. Lahore. Kabul. Many monuments were built by the Muslim emperors. India built by the Mughal Empire ‡ The Red Fort in Delhi was the main palace of the empire during the reign of Shah Jahan. Fatehpur Sikri. during the Mughal era including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj Mahal. Sheikhupura and many other cities of India. Other World Heritage Sites includes the Humayun's Tomb. Iranian and Central Asian customs and traditions. The Mughal period would be the first to witness the blending of Indian. Pakistan. Babur's descendents absorbed traits and customs of the Indian Subcontinent[.

India built by the Mughal Empire .The Taj Mahal in Agra.

The Red Fort .

The Alamgiri Gate is the main entrance to the Lahore Fort built during the reign of Aurangzeb. .

Humayun's Tomb Lahore Fort. Lahore .

Tomb of Anarkali. Pakistan Fatehpur Sikri .

gardens and cities. . massive vaulted gateways and delicate ornamentation. Indian architecture was greatly influenced by Persian styles. The Mughals constructed excellent mosques. The Mughal buildings show a uniform pattern both in structure and character. large halls. the slender minarets with cupolas at the four corners. With the coming of the Mughals. forts. The main characteristic features of Mughal architecture are the bulbous domes.‡ All the early Mughal Rulers except Aurangzeb were great builders.

‡ The few mosques and palaces built by Babar and Humayun are not of much architectural significance ‡ Sher Shah of the Sur Dynasty who ruled over the Kingdom of the Mughals after driving Humayun out of the country was not only a great administrator but a lover of art also. He built several forts. The monuments of Sher Shah are a continuation of the Lodi style. The mausoleums are octagonal in plan and have verandahs around them. surmounted by huge domes. ‡ . The verandahs have three smaller domes on each side. tombs and mosques.

Purana Quila (Old Fort). Delhi .

it is ornamented with black and white marble and coloured tiles. .‡ Sher Shah built the Purana Quila in Delhi. decorative panels. Started by him. A beautiful mosque inside the Quila with ornamental arches. Built of red and buff sand-stone. it was completed by Humayun. geometrical designs and inscriptions is an example of the development of architecture and ornamentation during Sher Shah's reign.

Sasaram .Sher Shah's tomb.

. The upper terrace has pillared domes and the two storeys above have a pillared kiosk at the four corners. very few of which remain now. Entrance to the tomb is through a domed structure. The tomb is decorated with coloured tiles. It is a two storey construction on a terraced platform. The base of the large central dome has thirty two sides.‡ Sher Shah's tomb at Sasaram in Bihar built in 1549 is in the centre of a large square tank and rises 46 metres high.

A structure of note built during his reign is Humayun's Tomb in Delhi. Akbar made free use of both Hindu and Persian styles. mausoleums and gateways. palaces.‡ Mughal architecture begins with Akbar who showed his passion for building by planning and constructing splendid edifices. mosques. towers. . ‡ Akbar constructed numerous forts. The use of red sandstone inlaid with white marble and painted designs on walls and ceiling are the salient -features of Akbar's buildings. During his reign Mughal architecture took on new forms.

Humayun's Tomb .

. in Delhi in 1569A. The garden is divided and sub-divided into squares. white and yellow marble it presents an imposing picture. Built of red sandstone with an inlay of black. it is a combination of both Persian and Indian styles of architecture. Planned by a Persian architect and constructed by Indian workers.‡ Humayun s tomb was built by his widow Haji Begum in 1565 A. Each side of the mausoleum has a large arched alcove in the centre with smaller ones on either side. Entrance to the mausoleum is through two double storeyed gateways.D. typical of Mughal gardens.D. The central chamber is octagonal in shape and contains the tomb. The lofty double storeyed structure is built on a huge high platform terrace which has a row of calls with arched openings. fourteen years after his death. ‡ . It has a high marble double dome in the centre and pillared kiosks with cupolas surrounding it. The mausoleum stands in the centre of a square enclosed garden.

AGRA FORT .

The structure above the balcony has arched recesses. A balcony separates the two storeys. it is a massive and grand structure.‡ A greater part of the fort at Agra was constructed by Akbar starting in 1565 AD and completed it in 1574 A.5 kms. Situated on the bank of the river Jamuna. The stones are linked with iron rings so close that not even a hair can pass through. The entrance to the fort is through two gateways.D. The other smaller gateway is called the Hathi Pol or Elephant Gate because of the two huge elephants on either side of the gate and was meant for private use. . ‡ The Delhi Gate entrance archway is flanked by two double storeyed octagonal bastions crowned by octagonal domed kiosks. The gateway is decorated with beautiful panels of coloured tiles and marble inlay work. The special feature of this fort is the 2. The main entrance known as Delhi Gate was the ceremonial entrance to the fort. long and 21 metres high circuitous wall of solid red sand stone.

The corbel brackets. the Moti Masjid. Some of the important buildings inside the fort are the Jahangiri Mahal built for Jahangir and his family. The planning and construction of the fort show that Rajput architectural styles were freely adopted. ‡ The elaborate architecture of the brackets seems to be an imitation of wood work.‡ The fort is surrounded by a deep moat. . doorways and the chajja above them are profusely carved. The Jehangiri Mahal is an impressive structure and has a courtyard surrounded by double-storeyed halls and rooms. The fort formerly contained numerous buildings of red sand stone but these were later demolished in the reign of Shah Jehan who constructed marble pavilions instead. and Mena Bazaars.

Jami Masjid. Fatehpur Sikri .

political and religious integration. The tomb built in 1571 A. ‡ .D. The religious edifices worth mentioning are the Jami Masjid and Salim Chisti s Tomb. and completed in 1574 A. contained some of the most beautiful buildings both religious and secular which testify to the Emperor s aim of achieving social. The cenotaph has an exquisitely designed lattice screen around it.D. in the corner of the mosque compound is a square marble chamber with a verandah. The construction pf the walled city was started in 1569 A. his Capital City near Agra.‡ Akbar s greatest architectural achievement was the construction of Fatehpur Sikri.D.

Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti. Fatehpur Sikri .

‡ The secular ones include Jodh Bai s palace. . A small chapel attached has niches in the wakks for idols. The centre part and four corners of the building are doubled storeyed. the last one being only a kiosk. the Panch Mahal. Jodha Bai's palace is a large building consisting of rooms on all four sides of a courtyard. the Diwan-i-khas and the Buland Darwaza. The panch Mahal is a five stored structure. each storey smaller in size as they go up.

Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri

‡ The Diwani Khas, an outstanding structure was meant for the Emperor to sit in audience with his ministers and listen to disputes and discussions. A novel structure, it is a large hall with a giant monolithic pillars in the centre with a circular railed platform on top like a cup which is supported by a circular array of beautifully carved brackets. From the Central platform branch out four diagonal railed galleries symbolizing Akbar s supremacy over his dominions. The gallery is continued on all four sides of the hall. The audience sat in the galleries and in the hall below giving it the effect of a twostorey building. Sitting in the centre, Akbar heard discourses and discussions on religions. ‡

Diwani Khas

. At the corners are slender turrets. A flight of steps lead to the gateway which is about 53 metres in height and 39 metres in width. An inscription on the gateway testifies to Akbar s religious toleration. Built of red sand stone and marble it is said to be the most perfect architectural achievement in the whole of India".‡ A magnificent gateway was added later in 1571-72 to commemorate his conquest of Gujarat. The beautiful perforated parapet and the row of kiosks with cupolas add to the dignity of the monument. A broad rectangular strip bordering the archway has calligraphic inscriptions on it. Entrance is through a huge arched domed recess.

Buland Darwaza. Fatehour Sikri. Agra .

Kashmir and to miniature paintings.‡ Jehangir though a lover of art was fond of natural beauty and so devoted his time to the laying of beautiful gardens such as the Shalimar and Nishat Bagh in Srinagar. Out of the few of his constructions of note are Akbar's tomb at Sikandra and the tomb of his father-in-law Itmad-ud-Daula both near Agra .

Sikandra .Akbar's Tomb.

‡ The Mausoleum of Akbar at Sikandra near Agra was started by Akbar and completed by his son Jahangir in 1612 A. diminishing in size as they ascend. The enclosure wall on each side has a gateway. The red sand-stone entrance gateway is the largest and is richly decorated with inlaid coloured stone work. it is by itself a work of art. who changed the original design of his father. . With its charming proportions. one above the other. The Mausoleum has five terraces. rising from the basement. it is set in the centre of a square garden. The main gateway has four white marble minarets in the four corners. Designed on the model of a Buddhist Vihara.D.

it has a square lower storey with four minarets in the four corners. red sand-stone structures of earlier Mughals. ‡ . Situated in a garden amidst fountains.D. Started by Jahangir it was completed by Nur Jehan in 1628 A. it is a delicate and beautiful piece of architecture. It is the first pure marble monument and differs from the typical massive. A central chamber inside contains the tombs and is surrounded by an enclosed verandah. A jewel in marble. the revenue minister of Jahangir and Nur Jehan s father was built in Agra on the banks of the Jumuna. inlaid with semi-precious stones and coloured glass.‡ The Mausoleum of Itmad-ud-Daula. A small rectangular structure in white marble. A traceried pavilion forms the second storey.there is no other building like it in the entire range of Mughal Architecture .

Agra .Itmad-Ud-Daula s Tomb.

the Jami Masjid in Delhi and the mausoleum of Jehangir in Shahdara. The main characteristics of his buildings are the use of delicately carved white marble richly decorated with pietra dura or inlay of coloured stones and calligraphy in black marble. They do not show the masculinity of Akbar's solid red sand-stone constructions.‡ Shah Jahan. mosques and gardens. His buildings are marked by the quality feminity. the Red fort in Delhi with the Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-iKhas. Some of his outstanding works are the Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque in Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal. forts. Mughal architecture reached the peaks of excellence during this reign. the most famous of the Mughal builders had a passion for building. grace and elegance. Lahore (in Pakistan). His reign marks the construction of numerous palaces. .

D. On the eastern corners. . White marble panels with inscriptions frame the arches. The main entrance is a double storeyed gateway and leads to a vast square courtyard which is enclosed by pillared corridors. The high central arch is flanked by tall slender minarets with cupolas. It is constructed on a high platform and approached by a flight of steps on three sides. stand two tapering four storeyed minarets. Three domes with alternate black and white marble stripes surmount the prayer hall. rectangular in plan has a facade of eleven arches. The prayer hall.‡ The Jama Masjid in Delhi is the largest mosque in India and was built between 1650-1656A.

RED FORT .

. These are the Lahori Gate and the Delhi Gate.‡ Soon after laying the foundation or his new Capital city of Shahjehanabad Shah Jahan started construction of the red sandstone Red Fort or Lal Quila in 1638 A. The fort took nearly nine years to complete. and ornamental gardens are other features of the fort. on the banks of the river Jumuna. The main entrance to the fort is through the Lahori Gate. the fortress is in the shape of a rectangle 900 metres by 550 metres.D. audience halls. The rampart walls are about 34 metres high. Figures of two huge elephants flank the Delhi Gate. A covered passage with shops on either side leads to the palaces inside the fort. horse and elephant stables. Barracks for soldiers. A moat surrounds the rampart. Within the walled city. Two of the five gateways of the fort are three -storeyed structures flanked by octagonal towers.

Diwan-i-Khas. ‡ The Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) is a rectangular central hall with aisles of arches and painted pillars. the wall has beautiful panels of flowers and birds in coloured inlay work.D. the latter three. Moti Mahal. ‡ The Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) is an arched pillared durbar hall.‡ Some of the beautiful buildings are the Diwan--i-Am. Behind the throne. A white marble throne. The walls have the famous verses of Amir Khusro which says that If there is paradise on earth it is here . Below the throne is a marble dais inlaid with semiprecious stones. and is an excellent specimen of the balance and rhythm maintained in Mughal constructions. embellished with coloured inlay work stands under a marble canopy. Hira Mahal and Rang Mahal. all halls decorated with pietro dura and patterns in gold and colour and floors paved with marble slabs. The four corners of the roof have pillars with chhatris on them. The Moti Masjid was added later in 1654 A.

the tomb. a derivative of the name Mumtaz Mahal. the Taj Mahal is one of the world s most beautiful and beloved structures. India. the mausoleum would be called the Taj Mahal. During the reign of Shah Jahan.‡ The crowning jewel of Indo-Islamic architecture. Later. the white marble monument was erected at a time when the resources of the Mughal Empire were such that only the finest materials were utilized for the structure and its embellishment and when the quality of the craftsmanship available in northern India was probably superior to that of any previous period. . for Mumtaz Mahal. who claimed to had seen the construction of the Taj Mahal from beginning to end. the favorite wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. ‡ According to the French jeweler Tavernier. the structure was known simply as the rauza. Construction of the tomb began in 1632 and employed more than 20.000 laborers for 20 years. The monument was built in Agra.

.

But Mumtaz Mahal was the love of his life. the Taj Mahal sits on a raised platform surrounded by four minarets. Inside are delicate mosaic works and marble walls adorned with intricate patterns of inlaid precious stones.‡ Known for its symmetry. She was his best friend and his most trusted political adviser. as prayers were offered up for the peace and repose of the empress soul. The emperor Shah Jahan is said to have celebrated the anniversary of his wife's death in the mausoleum. Mumtaz Mahal bore 14 children. ‡ Mumtaz Mahal. seven of them survived. She died in 1631 after giving birth to a healthy baby girl. . Indeed. whose name means Chosen One of the Palace. Shah Jahan had a number of wives. had been more than the emperor s wife. kneeling before the cenotaph of white marble studded with gems and semiprecious stones.

Shah Jahan chose a site occupied by sprawling gardens on a bend in the left bank of the Yamuna River.had turned completely white. According to legend. Shah Jahan reportedly locked himself in his rooms and refused food for eight days. . Author Christine Moorcroft writes in The Taj Mahal (1998) that Shah Jahan may have chosen this specific site because of its beauty and because there was a clear view of the site from the imperial palace at the Red Fort. ‡ For the monument to his wife. when the emperor emerged from his seclusion. Poet Rabindranath Tagore describes the monument as rising above the banks of the river like a solitary tear suspended on the cheek of time.‡ After his wife s death.visible in many Mughal miniature paintings . his black beard .

‡ Refuting the romanticism of the aforementioned. write Amina Okada and M. ‡ Even if the Taj Mahal represents just one more jewel in the imperial crown of Shah Jahan.C. the emperor still must be credited with having made of the death of a spouse a symbol of lasting beauty. that behind the monument s beauty and majesty of form. note Okada and Joshi. even the favorite wife of an emperor. He bequeathed to India and the world its most beautiful mausoleum. continue Okada and Joshi. and behind the sober refinement of its decoration is an autocratic ruler vaunting his grandeur and munificence to the world.a significance equally accounted for by the omnipotence of a sovereign infatuated with his own grandeur. . behind the purity of its line. While the monument is clearly funereal. Joshi in Taj Mahal (1993). Some historians believe. many contemporary historians contend that the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum far too imposing to commemorate the memory of one woman. these historians also perceive a symbolic and allegorical significance for the mausoleum .

Blair and Jonathan M. and the tomb is framed by four tall minarets. write Sheila S. its octagonal rooms in the corners are more logically connected. write Blair and Bloom. In plan and massing. note Blair and Bloom. ‡ The carefully balanced image.900 feet by 1. the great bulbous tomb of the Taj Mahal is set on a higher drum.‡ Following the standard Mughal architectural arrangement. Bloom in The Art and Architecture of Islam (1994). Built in red sandstone on the sides of the platform and enshrining the mausoleum are two structures: a mosque (masjid) to the west and a guest house (mihman khana) to the east. the tomb is set in a large quadripartite chahar bagh garden that measures about 1. the mausoleum refines the model provided by Humayun's tomb at Delhi. reflected in the water channel dividing the garden. . However.000 feet. The tomb stands at the north end of the garden along the riverbank balanced by a large gateway on the south. is enhanced by the superb polish and detailed carving of the marbles.

that the tomb was an allegorical representation of the Throne of Allah above the Garden of Paradise on the Day of Judgment.‡ The Taj Mahal has restrained pietra dura decoration that forms vining floral designs. It has been suggested. particularly the Day of Judgment. . Above these beautiful floral patterns are extensive calligraphic inscriptions in black lettering. write Blair and Bloom. that the epigraphic program designed by calligrapher Amanat Khan was meant to drive home the message implicit in the building's form and location . Most of the text is short verses from the Qur'an emphasizing eschatological themes.

Moreover. The Qur'anic inscription on the southern facade of the Main Gate gives unequivocal credence to the comparison of the Taj Mahal with the Garden of Paradise. The symbolic and allegorical nature of the garden and the canals at Taj Mahal is not surprising considering the funereal nature of the monument it enshrines.‡ The beauty of the pietra dura of the Taj Mahal and of the forts at Agra and Delhi still inspire numerous artists from all over the world. the four canals clearly symbolize the four rivers of Paradise mentioned in the Holy Qur'an and seen by the Prophet Muhammed during his miraculous ascent to Paradise (al-Mi'raj). where the appeased souls of the dead find their ultimate refuge. write Okada and Joshi. .

And enter you My Paradise . then.‡ This inscription says: ‡ (It will be said to the pious): O (you) the one in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord. -. among My honored slaves.well-pleased (yourself) and well-pleasing unto him! Enter you.

enclosed in a baluster of delicately perforated marble and studded with semiprecious stones. In the funerary chamber are found the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. write Okada and Joshi. . the bodies of the emperor and his spouse are buried with their faces toward Mekka (the Holy Muslim city in the Arabian Peninsula) with the husband on his wife's right side. As dictated by Islamic tradition.‡ The Taj Mahal contains 16 chambers. eight each on two levels. that surround the octagonal funerary chamber surmounted by a surbased inner dome.

in its perfection of space and proportion.represents the culmination on Indian soil of the Persian genius at work. and in the quality of its decoration .‡ The Taj Mahal . in the classical perfection of its shape. in its combination of monumentality and delicacy. .

. the locations of the calligraphic inscriptions correspond to a precise iconographic plan. There are 22 different Qur'anic Surahs or verses inscribed on the tomb.‡ The sinuous and austere letters in black marble inscribed with heraldic precision on the walls of the mausoleum heighten the whiteness of the marble and undeniably contribute to the ornamental richness and beauty of the edifice. Moreover. This makes the Taj Mahal an extremely exceptional funeral monument. more than on any other monuments built during the reign of Shah Jahan.

flowers and roses are often seen as symbols of the Kingdom of Allah. These floral motifs are sculpted in marble in sober relief (munabbat kari) or inlaid with semiprecious stones (parchin kari) that produce incandescent reflections. Accompanied by fruit or bunches of grapes. depicted with a stamp of realism and with a soft lyricism. Other diverse kinds of flowers open in graceful arabesques and cover in profusion the imperial cenotaphs and their enclosures showing the dazzling virtuosity of the Mughal lapidaries. captivate the visitor with their grace and colorful freshness In Islamic culture. Thus. .‡ Also adding to the beauty of the Taj Mahal is the extraordinary delicacy of the floral motifs that embellish the marble surface. ‡ The stone flowers of the Taj Mahal. the Taj Mahal s allusion to Paradise can be seen in the motif of flowers carved on the funerary chambers of the mausoleum. the vases of flowers express the abundance that awaits the faithful in Paradise.

a 17th century Mughal painting .

and Buddhist influences. generally confined to miniatures either as book illustrations or as single works to be kept in albums. . which emerged from Persian miniature painting. and developed during the period of the Mughal Empire (16th -19th centuries). Jain. with Indian Hindu.‡ Mughal painting is a particular style of South Asian painting.

first biography of Islamic literature .An image of Rhino hunt from Baburnama.

Shahjahan on globe. mid 17th century .

Painting by Ustad Mansur (died after 1621) .

Though he did not encourage Mughal painting. . and for him. some of the best work was done in his reign.A durbar scene with the newly crowned Emperor Aurangzeb in his golden throne.

receptions. between 16th to 19th century. like battles. portraits. The Mughal paintings of India revolved around themes. etc. . legendary stories. As the name suggests. these paintings evolved as well as developed during the rule of Mughal Emperors in India.‡ Mughal painting reflects an exclusive combination of Indian. hunting scenes. court scenes. wildlife. The Victoria and Albert Museums of London house a large and impressive collection of Mughal paintings. Persian and Islamic styles.

now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. there is the 'Princess of the House of Timur'. he also brought along two excellent Persian artists. their art got influenced by the local styles and gradually. With time. When he came back to India from the exile. Humayun (1530-1540). it gave rise to the Mughal painting of India. Mir-Sayyid Ali and Abd-ussamad.‡ History of Mughal Painting Indian Mughal paintings originated during the rule of Mughal Emperor. Then. a painting redone numerous times. . The earliest example of the Mughal style is the Tutinama ('Tales of a Parrot') Painting.

Ramayana and Persian epics. landscape. During that time.Growth of Mughal Painting Mughal paintings of India developed as well as prospered under the rule of Mughal Emperors. one can see the paintings mainly being based on the Mahabharata. Akbar. with animal tales. Mughal paintings also started illustrating an enhanced naturalism. hundreds of artists used to paint under the direction of the two Persian artists. Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Under Akbar Mughal painting experienced large-scale growth under the reign of Emperor Akbar. portraits. Since the Emperor was fond of tales. . etc.

One of the most popular examples of Mughal paintings of this time include the pictorial illustrations of the Jehangir-nama. etc. . Under Shah Jahan The grace and refinement of the Jahangir period was seen at the time of Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658). The themes of that time revolved around musical parties. lovers on terraces and gardens. However. animals.‡ Under Jahangir Emperor Jahangir reigned from 1605 to 1627 and extended great support to various art forms. especially paintings. etc. The main themes of the Mughal paintings revolved around the events from Jahangir's own life. the sensitivity of the paintings was replaced by coldness and rigidity. ascetics gathered around a fire. along with the use of much lighter and subdued colors. along with portraits. the biography of Emperor Jahangir. flowers. This period saw more and more refinement in brushwork. birds.

Nonetheless. Still. The time of Muhammad Shah. (1719-1748). However. . However. known as Rajput paintings. the art form continued to survive with the support received from its other patrons. a declining trend set in. gradually. because of diminishing support. the art almost became extinct and another school of painting. started evolving. did experience a brief revival of the Mughal paintings.‡ Decline of Mughal Painting The trend that was seen during the time of Shah Jahan was also found under the rule of Aurangzeb (1658-1707). with the arrival of Shah Alam II (1759-1806). the emperor did not pay too much attention on the growth of the Mughal paintings.

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