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234 × 178 mm
352 pages
118 illustrations, 92 in colour
01 May 2004
  • £29.95

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The Empire of the Great Mughals History, Art and Culture Annemarie Schimmel

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 Mughals is a richly illustrated and fascinating portrait of an advanced civilization, the historical and cultural legacy of which still inspires universal admiration today.

‘an excellent cultural history of one of the great cosmopolitan court cultures, full of vivid anecdote and pertinent quotes.’ – The Independent

‘This parting gift which Schimmel has left behind once again shows her mettle as a powerful and prolific writer of extraordinary worth . . .the book is a welcome addition to the world of scholarship – a unique dictionary of Mughal history and culture for which Schimmel will long be remembered.’ – The Sixteenth Century Journal

‘an important book’ – CLIO

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Annemarie Schimmel (1922-2003) was Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture at Harvard and Bonn universities, and published widely in the field of oriental art and culture.