Imagining Islamic Aesthetics #17 – Mughal Art

For this edition of Imagining Islamic Aesthetics, we will look briefly into Mughal art, one of the most impressive empires in India.

The Mughal Empire is famed for Taj Mahal, a monument for Mumtaz Mahal from the lovelorn Shah Jahan. However, The Mughal Empire also famous for its production of exquisite artifacts of art and elegant examples of architecture. Here we look some of their artistic products in brief. We will, as usual,  discuss this topic further in another time under a different category.

Portrait of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, 18th Century. From the Collection of the Smithsonian Institution. The Mughal Empire is famed for its portraiture, usually of nobility and the royalty.  Probably influenced by the Persian Empire, Mughal miniatures and portraits shows similar characteristics to its Persian counterparts, but have more defined, rather more realism look.

A Mughal casket, 18th Century, made of Ivory and silver. The same exquisite carving can be found adorning the famous Taj Mahal. You can see here floral motifs are the preferred decorative style by the Mughal artisans.

Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Department of Islamic Art, Richelieu, lower ground floor, room 11

A cup made out of rock crystal, inlaid with gold threads, silver and rubies. Made in the 18th Century. Here you can see how delicate their crafts can be and again you can see the motifs of flowers embellishing the cup.

A window made out of carved wood, 18th Century. Another fine example of the mastery of the craft of the Mughal artisans. This window is supposedly a shutter, but even a humble shutter is given an elegant treatment of detailed woodcarving.

Humayun’s tomb, New Delhi, India. This is one of the most impressive Mughal piece of architecture, after the Taj Mahal. It remains one of the most popular tourist destination in India, and displays impressive decoration and elegant aesthetics.



Filed under Imagining Islamic Aesthetic

2 responses to “Imagining Islamic Aesthetics #17 – Mughal Art

  1. Lovely blog on Islamic architecture and ornamentation .
    I am fascinated by the beautiful geometric symmetry of islamic architecture , (particularly the jali works on the windows) . I have captured a few pictures of these on Paigah tombs at Hyderabad ( sometimes called the Taj mahal of South India) which have been posted on my blog .


    • Thank you Malathi!
      I have seen your blog, and I am impressed with the Paigah tombs. they exhibit fine works of geometric symmetry. Some day maybe I will get to India and witness the great artwork myself. Thanks again!

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