The Complete Taj Mahal: And the Riverfront Gardens of Agra

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Thames & Hudson, 2006 - Architecture - 288 pages
The Taj Mahal is the unchallenged masterpiece of Mughal art and one of the most famous buildings in the world. Yet until now, there has been no full analysis of its architecture and meaning. Ebba Koch, the first western scholar since India's independence permitted to take measures of the complex, has been working on the palaces and gardens of Shah Jahan for thirty years, and on the Taj Mahal itself - the tomb of the emperor's wife, Mumtaz Mahal - for a decade. Here, in hundreds of new photographs and beautiful measured drawings by the Indian architect Richard A Barraud, she provides the first detailed documentation ever published on every building in the vast complex. The tomb represents the house of the queen in Paradise, and the author shows how its pattern was based on the palace gardens of the imperial family and great nobles that lined both sides of the river at Agra. She leads the reader on a walk that illuminates not only the white marble mausoleum but the mosque and guest house that flank it, the garden across which it is seen, the great gate, the forecourt and its bazaar streets, the quarters of the tomb attendants, subsidiary tombs, and finally the now completely lost bazaar and caravanserai complex. She gives special attention to the floral ornament - both the famous pietra dura inlay of hardstones in white marble, and the rich relief carving in marble and red sandstone. Reconstructions allow us to see the monument in the context of Shah Jahan's Agra, and the close encounter is framed by accounts of its design and construction, its symbolic meaning, and its history up to the present day.

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The complete Taj Mahal: and the riverfront gardens of Agra

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Although the Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world, until now there has been no full examination of its architecture in book form. Art historian Koch-the first Western scholar ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Ebba Koch, is an internationally acknowledged expert on Indo-Islamic and Mughal Architecture.

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