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Mughal Art and Architecture

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Kirstyn Heller

on 25 March 2011

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Transcript of Mughal Art and Architecture

Traversing the Desert of Time:
Mughal Art and Architecture History The Mughal Empire lasted from to 1526 to 1858. During these 300 years art and architecture flourished under various rulers. Mughal artisans combined many different art types to create their own type of art. This art is still widely respected today. Educational Plan In this exhibit, visitors will learn about Mughal art and architecture. People will be able to explore 300 years of masterpieces that greatly affected the art world. There will be displays of artifacts and paintings; and models of popular Mughal buildings will also be displayed. At the end of the exhibit, visitors will be able to take the principles displayed in the exhibit and create their own Mughal masterpiece. Art Emperor Akbar of the Mughal Empire wanted to translate the classics into the Persian language. The new creations were created by his court artists. After him, Jahangir continued the love of the arts. As a prince, Jahangir had established his own atelier in Allahabad and had strong artistic tastes, preferring a single painter to work on an image rather than the collaborative method of Akbar’s time. Jahangir’s claim that he could instantly recognize any painter’s work is a reflection of the rise of the individual artist. This picture is one of the more successful paintings of Akbar's court. The god Krishna protects the people of Braj against the destructive rain sent by the god Indra. Emperor Jahangir loves nature, which is apparent in the paintings done for him. The magnificent plane tree is one of the most romantic trees of India, closely identified with the Mughals as their 'royal tree', famous as the chinar tree of the Kashmir valley where it is particularly prevalent. Mughal Miniatures The art of Mughal painting was introduced by the Mughal emperor Humayun after returning to India from Persi; he invited two Persian artists. During Akbar's rule, painters created beautiful paintings that depicted scenes from Hindu epics, and animal fables as well as portraits. The art of Mughal painting was further refined during Jahangir's time. This painting shows Akbar in 1574, traveling with his men on one of his many campaigns. Dressed in white and with clearly identifiable features and dark skin, Akbar sits and gives orders in the center of the second boat from the bottom. Abul Fazl, the author of Akbar's court chronicle, the Akbarnama, described the barges made for this expedition as veritable floating palaces with spaces for all the court functions. Mughal Pottery Khurja is a town located near the capital of Delhi. It is a center for ceramic production that dates back about 600 years. The Mughals are famous for their blue pottery, which is made from a varying mixture of quartz, feldspar, and clay. Blue pottery is usually decorated with floral and vine motifs, and geometric, paisley, and abstract patterns. Blue pottery is bright in design and comes in the forms of tableware, dinner-sets, jugs, vases, bowls, and boxes for trinkets. Bidri is an imprortant form of Mughal art. It is known for its pure and unadorned form. During the Mughal period the floral ornament of the Muslim courts took hold. As this was happening, the native Indian taste for sculptural form enriched it, giving Mughal poppies and irises the rhythm and weight of goddesses. Mughal Architecture Jahangir was succeeded by Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan focused on a new type of art: architecture. And this is what he is known for, especially after building the Taj Mahal for his late wife. After this was complete, he moved the capital from Agra to Delhi in 1648. Shah Jahan proceeded to build a new city there, called Shahjahanabad, and a congregational mosque the largest in all of India. Taj Mahal Taj Mahal stands in the city of Agra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on the banks of the Yamuna River. It was built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his third wife who died after the birth of their twelfth child.

Shah Jahan decided to build the Taj Mahal as a memorial to his wife. The site selected for the tomb was a garden by the Yamuna river, unshadowed by any other structure. The site was also chosen because it was located on a bend in the river, and so could be seen from Shahjahan’s personal palace in Agra Fort, further upstream. Work on the mausoleum began in 1633 and 20,000 workers laboured for 17 years to build it. The most skilled architects, inlay craftsmen, calligraphers, stone-carvers and masons came from all across Indian and lands as distant as Persia and Turkey. Humayun's Tomb Humayun's tomb is known as the first example of the monumental scale that would characterize subsequent Mughal imperial architecture. The tomb is the first to mark the grave of a Mughal emperor. Humayun's Tomb is now one of the best-preserved Mughal monuments in Delhi. The tomb is situated south of the Purana Qila, on the eastern edge of Delhi. It is set in the center of a garden in the classical Mughal char bagh pattern. A high wall surrounds the garden on three sides, the fourth side being bounded by what was once the bank of the river Jamna, which has since been diverted. The garden is divided into four parts by two bisecting water channels with paved walkways (khiyabans), which terminate at two gates: a main one in the southern wall, and a smaller one in the western wall.

The tomb sits at the center of a plinth, about 21 feet (7m) high. The top of its central dome reaches 140 feet from the ground. The dome is double-layered; the outer layer supports the white marble exterior facing, while the inner one defines the cavernous interior volume. The rest of the tomb is clad in red sandstone, with white marble ornamentation.
The sarcophagus of Humayun is found in the central domed chamber, the head pointing south, and facing east according to Islamic practice. The vaulted chambers also contain sarcophagi that were added later. The sex of each occupant is marked by a simple carved symbol: a box of writing instruments indicates a male, and a writing slate indicates a female. The sarcophagi are not otherwise inscribed, but among them are known to be those containing the wives of Humayun, and several later Mughal emperors and princes.

At the end of the exhibit, there will be multiple stations for the visitors to create their own masterpeice. They utilize take all the principles they learned about the style of architecture and the charactertistics of paintings displayed in the exhbit. References http://www.artinhistory.com/Product-Detail.aspx?id=11
http://www.iloveindia.com/history/medieval-india/mughal-empire/index.html Mary Donofrio, Brooke Fowler, Kirstyn Heller Of all the varieties of Mughal glass known, this milky white color is the rarest. The painted decoration in silver (now darkened) and gold displays flowering shrubs enclosed in oval compartments, laid out in a radiating pattern, a classic Mughal decorative scheme that is also seen in contemporary metalwork. The Mughals made use of the ancient Indian decorative technique of carving and sculpture and freely utilized glazed-tiling, painting, stucco, mosaic and inlay arts. They liberally employed all types of motifs and designs. The Mughal decorative art is not an expression in isolation, it is a link in the continuous growth of the art of the people. Red Fort When Shah Jahan moved his capital, he built the Red Fort as his palace. The Red Fort stands at the eastern edge of Shahjahanabad, and gets its name from the massive wall of red sandstone that defines its eight sides. The wall is 1.5 miles long, and varies in height from 60 ft on the river side to 110 ft towards the city. Measurements have shown that the plan was generated using a square grid of 270 ft. The main gate leads to a street covered with various stores. On the east side of the fort are the palaces and on the west, the military buildings. Beyond that are different pavillions. There are also areas made for women and bath houses. Pearl Mosque The Pearl Mosque was added later in 1659 as a private mosque for Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan's successor. It is a small, three-domed mosque in carved white marble, with a three-arched screen which steps down to the courtyard. To its north lies a large formal garden, the Hayat Bakhsh Bagh, or 'Life-Bestowing Garden', which is cut through by two bisecting channels of water. A pavilion stands at either end of the north-south channel, and a third, built in 1842 by the last emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, stands at the center of the pool where the two channels meet. With amazing artifacts and paintings and hands-on activities, this exhibit is perfect for all ages. Admission to the exhibit will be included with admission to the museum.
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