One of the most remarkable artistic achievements of the Mughal Empire was the emergence in the early seventeenth century of portraits of identifiable individuals, unprecedented in both South Asia and the Islamic world. Appearing at a time of increasing contact between Europe and Asia, portraits from the reigns of the great Mughal emperor-patrons Akbar, Jahangir
and Shah Jahan are among the best-known paintings produced in South Asia. In the following centuries portraiture became more widespread in the visual culture of South Asia, especially in the rich and varied traditions of painting, but also in sculpture and later prints and photography.
This collection seeks to understand the intended purpose of a range of portrait traditions in South Asia and how their style, setting and representation may have advanced a range of aesthetic, social and political functions. The chapters range across a wide historical period, exploring ideals of portraiture in Sanskrit and Persian literature, the emergence and political symbolism of Mughal portraiture, through to the paintings of the Rajput courts, sculpture in Tamil temples and the transformation of portraiture in colonial north India and post-independence Pakistan.
This specially commissioned collection of studies from a strong list of established scholars and rising stars makes a significant contribution to South Asian history, art and visual culture.
Deriving from Persian artistic techniques, Mughal portraiture reached its apogee during the reigns of the great Mughal emperor-patrons Akbar, Shah Jahan and Jahangir. Much of the art produced in this period was commissioned for political reasons, and art was one method of ensuring power, increasing prestige and sending messages to the kingdom and rival dynasties. Western portraiture has become an incredibly important source of historical study because of what it can tell us about the tastes, rules, dress, politics and identity of periods and rulers. One of the reasons this hasn?t quite happened for Mughal painting is that we often think of these paintings as authorless, but of course the great Mughal artists were in demand, and were able to bring unique skills to their work?the Emperor Jahangir claimed to be able to instantly recognize an artist?s work by sight. This collection seeks to enrich our understanding of Mughal culture through its portraiture, examining the artistic conventions and cultural norms from the Persianate early works through to the Europeanization of South Asian traditions in the 19th century and the continuation of the tradition today. A specially commissioned collection of studies from an exceptionally strong list of established scholars and rising stars on both sides of the Atlantic; this marks a major breakthrough in South Asian history.
Number of Pages: 270 p. ;
Genre: History, Art
Sub-Genre: Middle East, History
Series Title: Library of South Asian History and Culture
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Academic
Book theme: Iran, General
Street Date: October 30, 2018
Item Number (DPCI): 247-49-3712