Mughal India

A Lion Hunt

This is a brush drawing from the 18th century depicting a lion hunt and is attributed to the Mughal style. As symbols of imperial wealth and power, the Mughal painting tradition frequently depicted elephants and lions as subjects, especially in hunting scenes. This visual documentation suggests that artists from the Mughal ateliers accompanied the Emperor… Read more »

The Birth of Christ

This later Mughal miniature shows the ‘Birth of Jesus Christ’ by an unidentified artist. True to the realm of Mughal miniatures of this time produced around European themes, the setup and backdrop remain entirely Indian. Women dressed in native ensembles and veils cater to the newborn as Mother Mary lies on a bed wrapped up… Read more »

Diwan-e Khas, the Dewas Khan, Palace of Delhi

This hand-painted engraving by an unidentified artist shows a view of the Diwan-e Khas with a red, decorated canopy inside the Red Fort, Delhi. The Diwan-e Khas is a rectangular marble structure that was given the name Shah Mahal by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan (1592–1666) and embellished with gilded gems, inlay work, and floral patterns.… Read more »

Historical Fragments of the Mogul Empire

Historical Fragments of the Mogul Empire by Robert Orme (1728–1801) was Orme’s last publication. This edition of the book was published posthumously. In this, Orme describes the story of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1618–1707), and his efforts to conquer the Deccan. He focuses mainly on the expanding Maratha power under Chhatrapati Shivaji (1630-1680) and the onset of British… Read more »

Magni Mogolis Imperivm (Great Mogolis Government)

The Dutch cartographer Frederik de Wit produced this map titled ‘Magni Mogolis Imperivm de Novo Correctum et Divisum Per’ in the early 18th century. Maps began to play an increasingly important role in realising European nationalist and imperialist ambitions, both practically and ideologically. This map shows the extent of the Mughal Empire in the early… Read more »

India inside and outside the Ganges

This map was produced by Christoph Weigel the Elder (1654-1725) in c. 1720 Many early cartographers did not travel to the sites they rendered on paper. As a result, early maps were a mix of reality and fiction reported by travellers and traders. Given that the Germans did not have active colonies in the Subcontinent… Read more »

India below and beyond the Ganges

This map was made by Nicolas Sanson (1600 – 1667) in 1654 and published in 1697. In comparison to his Dutch contemporaries, Nicolas Sanson (born in Abbeville, France) is considered the pioneer of the French school of cartography, which revolutionised map-making based on precision, scientific and historical narratives. He produced more than 300 maps in… Read more »

Jahangir, Leo Zodiac Silver Rupee of Ahmedabad Mint

This coin is a Silver Zodiac Rupee, minted by Jahangir (r. 1605-1627). Jahangir, a great patron of the arts, took a keen interest in coinage during his reign. The Zodiac coins were the most controversial yet unique ones among his innovative coinage.  The ”Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri” mentions that Jahangir ordered to replace the month with the zodiac… Read more »

Jahangir, Aries Zodiac Silver Rupee

Jahangir, a great patron of the arts, took a keen interest in coinage during his reign. Among his innovative coinage, the most controversial yet unique ones were the Zodiac coins. The ‘Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri’ mentions that Jahangir ordered for star constellation figures to replace the inscriptions detailing the month of issue, present on the reverse of the… Read more »

Nikusiyar, Silver Rupee of Akbarabad Mint

Nikusiyar, son of Muhammad Akbar and grandson of Aurangzeb, was the 12th ruler of the Mughal Empire. At the age of sixteen, he was appointed the Subehdar of Assam, a position he held for a brief period from 1695-1701. Following this he served as the Subehdar of Sindh from 1702 to 1707. However, with the… Read more »

Aurangzeb, Silver Coin of Chinnapattam Mint

The emperor of Hindustan from 1658 to 1707, Aurangzeb was driven by a coruscating ambition. The Mughal empire burgeoned to its maximum size under his reign. However, he was a conservative when it came to coin design. Read more about how the personality of an emperor got imprinted on the coins issued by him in… Read more »

The Romance of the Taj Mahal: It’s Complicated

It’s a symbol of romantic love the world over. But what do the historians have to say about Mughal India’s most famous legacy? We examine new theories and pair them with rare vintage photographs of the Taj Mahal from our archive

Meet the Muse

The Issanama may be the story of Jesus, but it draws from a syncretic narrative of history as embodied by Emperor Akbar’s incredible Hamzanama folios

The Temptation of Christ

This folio titled ‘The Temptation of Christ’ is a part of the  Issanama series. The Issanama commission lies at the intersection of art and history, and offers lush evidence of the plurality and syncretism inherent in Indian culture. It’s an artistic collaboration between the founder of Sarmaya, Paul Abraham and traditional miniaturist and third-generation artist,… Read more »

Samaritan Woman at the Well

This folio titled ‘Samaritan Woman at the Well’ is a part of the  Issanama series. The episode depicts the meeting of Jesus with a woman in Samaria, who gives him water to quench his thirst and a conversation between them follows. The Issanama commission lies at the intersection of art and history, and offers lush… Read more »

Map of the Mughal Empire

This map of Mughal India created by Matthew Seuter in 1745 is titled Imperii Magni Mogolis. The map charts out the extent of the Mughal Empire, extending to Persia and Kandahar (In the west) and Burma and Thailand (In the east). To the south it extends to the Malabar coasts and also points out the… Read more »