The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture

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Reaktion Books, 2006 - Art - 352 pages
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Translated by Corinne Attwood The Mughal empire (1526–1857) has long been viewed as a wonderland of unimaginable treasure; it was in fact the mightiest Islamic empire in the history of India. In this comprehensive cultural history, now available in paperback, Annemarie Schimmel describes the political, military and economic rise of the Mughals, their system of rule, the incredible unfolding of their power and splendour, and their gradual collapse, finally supplanted by the British colonial empire in 1857. Beginning with a concise historical overview, she paints a detailed picture of life at court: of rank and status in this strictly hierarchical society; of the life of women; of the various religions, languages and literatures of the Mughal era; of the patronage of the arts by the rulers; and the remarkable accomplishments and techniques of artists at the Mughal court. Who, for example, has not heard of the Taj Mahal, the renowned mausoleum that the emperor Shah Jahan constructed for his wife in the Indian city of Agra? This amazing edifice of white marble, inlaid with a filigree of precious stones, is an impressive demonstration of the refined sense of beauty of the Mughal rulers. Building and landscape architecture, painting and literature, indeed, the entire court culture of the Mughals, all testify to an aesthetic sensibility within which they strove to harmonise all aspects of life. The Empire of the Great Mughalsis a richly illustrated and fascinating portrait of an advanced civilization, the historical and cultural legacy of which still inspires universal admiration today.

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Schimmel (1922-2003) was a respected scholar of Islam, best known for her studies of Sufism and of Persian poetry, whose love of her field was as deep as her knowledge. In this richly illustrated book ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Annemarie Schimmel (1922–2003) was professor of Indo-Muslim culture at Harvard University and the University of Bonn. She was a consultant in the Islamic Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, for ten years. Her books include Islam: An Introduction and My Soul is a Woman: The Feminine in Islam.

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