ArtLex Art Dictionary

 

MMughal (or Mugal) dynasty - The Islamic dynasty in India, composed of nineteen sovereigns who ruled from 1526 to 1858.

Many of India's greatest works of art and architecture were produced during the Mughal period. Under the patronage of Mughal sultans, court artisans produced many royal portraits and illustrated literary and historical texts. Domestic metal work, metal engraving, and jade carving also became prominent art forms during the Mughal period. The red sandstone and marble masjid jami' (friday mosques) at the successive Mughal capitals of Lahore, Delhi, Agra, and Fatehpur Sikri were erected during this period.

It was Shah Jahan (reigned 1627-1658) who built the Taj Mahal as a tomb garden for his wife, establishing it as the greatest creation of the Mughal dynasty.

 

Examples of Mughal art:

 

 

see thumbnail to leftIndia, Mughal dynasty; found at/reportedly from Fatehpur Sikri, India, Jali screen, one of a pair, second half of the 16th century, carved red sandstone, 73 1/4 x 51 3/16 x 3 9/16 inches (186 x 130 x 9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See screen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightAttributed to Dashavanta (India) , Attributed to Shravana (India), Mughal dynasty, c. 1562-77, Sanawbar Banu Welcomes Prince Qasim and the Champions of Iran and Turan, folio from the Hamzanama (Tales of Hamza), opaque watercolors on cloth, 30 7/8 x 24 1/2 inches (78.5 x 62.3 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This scene depicts an episode from an epic whose hero is Hamza, warrior-uncle of the prophet Muhammad. One of a set of 1,400 paintings, this unusually large illustration was held up to view while the text relating the tale, which is inscribed on the verso of the painting, was recited aloud to a courtly audience. The Hanzanama was a favorite with Akbar (1542-1605), third Mughal emperor of India and an influential patron of the arts. The twelve volumes of the series were executed in his imperial atelier under the supervision of two Persian painters, Mir Sayyid Ali and Khwaja Abd as-Samad. These artists helped create the Mughal style, a school of painting incorporating Turkish, Persian, and other painting traditions.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftIndia, Mughal dynasty, A Lady and a Gentleman Converse, from the Tuti-Nama, c. 1580, opaque watercolor on paper, heightened with gold; mounted on a later album page; Persian text in nastaliq script; chapter heading in kufic script, Worcester Art Museum, MA. See calligraphy.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightIndia, Mughal dynasty, Performers and Animals at an Impromptu Circus in the Countryside, c. 1590, drawing in brush, washes, and color on paper; Persian nastaliq calligraphy on verso attributed to Mir Ali, Worcester Art Museum, MA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftDharmdas (India), Mughal dynasty, Flight of Sultan Bahadur During Humayun’s Campaign in Gujarat, 1535, folio from an Akbarnama, c. 1590, opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on paper; sheet: 14 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches (36.83 x 24.13 cm); image: 13 x 8 1/4 inches (33.02 x 21.0 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightIndia, Mughal, Somaprabha and a Celestial Nymph Listening to Music, from a Kathasaritsagara, c. 1590, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 5 1/8 x 5 3/8 inches (13.02 x 13.65 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

 

India, Mughal dynasty, A Ruler on Horseback Leading an Army across a Battlefield, from the Tarikh-i Alfi, c. 1592-94, opaque watercolor on paper, heightened with gold; Persian text in nastaliq script, Worcester Art Museum, MA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftIndia, Sub-Imperial Mughal, Rustam Slays the White Div, folio from a Shahnama (Book of Kings), 1608, opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on paper, image: 6 3/4 x 4 3/4 inches (17.15 x 12.07 cm); sheet: 9 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches (23.5 x 14.61 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightMughal Emperor Shah Jahan (Indian, reigned 1628-1658), Taj Mahal, 1630-1653, an Islamic tomb in a walled garden built for Shah Jahan's wife Mumatz Mahal [aka Arjuman Banu Begum], of bearing masonry and inlaid marble, with onion-shape domes and flanking towers, in Agra, India, seat of the Mughal Empire. Sir Banister Fletcher wrote in A History of Architecture, "The interior of the building is dimly lit through pierced marble lattices and contains a virtuoso display of carved marble. Externally the building gains an ethereal quality from its marble facings, which respond with extraordinary subtlety to changing light and weather." See architecture.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftIndia, Mughal dynasty, Reign of Shah Jahan, Tree Rug, first half of the 17th century, wool and cotton, 89 1/2 x 75 1/2 inches (227 x 192 cm), Frick Collection, NY. See textile.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightIndia, Mughal dynasty, Reign of Shah Jahan, Carpet with Floral Pattern, first half of the 17th century, wool and cotton, 76 x 46 inches (193.04 x 116.8 cm), Frick Collection, NY.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftIndia, Mughal, Coin of Shah Jahan, obverse, 1628-1658, gold, diameter 15/16 inches (2.38 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art. See numismatics.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightIndia, Mughal dynasty, Shamsa (Rosette) bearing the name and titles of the Emperor Shah Jahan (reigned 1628-58), illuminated page, 17th century, ink, colors, and gold on paper, 15 3/16 x 10 7/16 inches (38.6 x 26.5 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. A shamsa (literally, sun) is a form of illuminated bookplate, that traditionally opened imperial Mughal albums. Here, the center of the design is a calligraphic pattern intertwining the official imperial name and titles of Shah Jahan. See rosette.

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftNorthern India, Kasmir or Lahore, India, Mughal, Fragments of a carpet, c. 1650, pashmina wool and silk, pile weave, pashmina wool pile on silk foundation, 1,023 asymmetrical knots per square inch, 9 feet 8 inches x 4 feet 6 inches (395.6 x 140.3 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See textile.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightIndia, Bengal, Dacca, Mughal dynasty, Sash, silk, cotton, 125 x 27 inches (317.5 x 68.6 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftIndia, Mughal dynasty, Mango-shaped flask, mid-17th century, rock crystal set with gold, enamel, rubies, and emeralds, height 2 1/2 inches (6.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See vessel.

 

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightIndia, Rajasthan, Kishangarh, South Asia, Idealized Portrait of the Mughal Empress Nur Jahan (1577-1645)?, c. 1725-1750, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 11 5/8 x 8 1/2 inches (29.52 x 21.59 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

 

Also see Hinduism.

 

 

 

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