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Akbar, The Aesthete

by: Indu Anand

Akbar, the most powerful Mughal emperor, was a great aesthete and promoter of arts. Eminent Persian and Indian artists thronged his Royal Studio who were studiously committed to paint numerous emotive miniatures of style and substance, communicating highly complex narratives. These minitatures are a beautiful manifestation of human expressions, vividly encapsulating moments of history for posterity.

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ISBN: 9788124607381
Year Of Publication: 2014
Edition: 1st
Pages : xx, 296p.
Bibliographic Details : Glossary; Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 29
Weight: 2000

Overview

Mughal miniatures are a vivid account of the cultural, sociopolitical scenario of the Mughal era. Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar, the most powerful Mughal emperor, was a great aesthete and promoter of arts. Eminent Persian and Indian artists thronged his Royal Studio and were encouraged to paint numerous emotive miniatures of style and substance, communicating highly complex narratives. These miniatures are a beautiful manifestation of human expressions, vividly encapsulating moments of history for posterity.
This book combines the sources and methodology of history and art history of the Mughal era, and is an analysis of a select group of paintings of Akbar’s reign. The miniature paintings incorporate a wide variety of rich, vibrant and varied themes, ranging from durbar scenes, depicting Akbar in different moods and forms, the princes and nobles in their finery, hunting and battle scenes, elaborate scenes of royal births, construction scenes, ascetics, common man, and countryside scenes, to the flora and fauna. Individual analyses of these miniatures, shows the manner of their composition and the inherent value of their sociocultural content in a lively manner. These paintings became a passion and a diversion for Akbar, who had an innate aesthetic sense.
However, there are hardly any true-to-life paintings of women of the royal seraglio. This book thus attempts to cover some images of femininity, whether it is of Queen Alanquwa, Akbar’s mother, or of Madonna as sacred mothers, and women, per se, in different roles. These miniatures make one wonder how much these women contributed to the life of Mughal India.
This unique volume, having given transliteration and translation of the original Persian text of the miniatures, provides an insight into Akbar as an aesthete, and will help academics and laymen alike in appreciating the beauty and history of Akbar’s period.

Contents

Foreword
Preface
List of Plates
Abbreviations
Introduction
1. Chapter I: Akbar the Aesthete
2. Chapter II: The New Genre Miniatures
3. Chapter III: Illustrations and Their Descriptions
Annotated Glossary
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

Meet the Author
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Dr Indu Anand is an acclaimed educationist and academician. At present, she serves as the Principal of Janki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi. She received the Charles Wallace India Trust fellowship sponsored by the British Council to participate in the Art History Course at Cambridge. A Fulbright Scholar under the Fulbright Visiting Specialist Program — Direct Access to the Muslim World — she has lectured in the US to promote American understanding of Islamic civilization and its history. Dr Anand has achieved numerous laurels such as the Women Achiever Award, Life Time Achievement Award, Women's Achievement Award, Dr. Radhakrishnan Memorial Award, Mahila Shiromani Award, and Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award. Her book Akbar: The Aesthete is a notable contribution to the study of social and material culture in the Mughal era through miniatures of that period.
Books of Indu Anand