A unique style of painting developed in India during the reigns of the Mughal emperors (sixteenth-eighteenth century), which blended Indian, Persian and Islamic styles. Usually confined to book illustrations, these elegant works came to be known as Mughal miniatures. They reflect the splendour of the Mughal empire, depicting its art and architecture, from court scenes to legendary stories, in striking, vivid colours. This book reproduces some of the finest surviving examples of Mughal paintings drawn from a unique collection in the Bodleian Library, many of which have never been seen before in print. They include court paintings from the reign of Akbar to the fall of Shah Jehan (1560-1660), generally regarded as the most inspired century of Mughal painting, and images from the celebrated Bah rist n manuscript of 1595, which was prepared for the Emperor Akbar and illustrated by leading artists of the time. Each image is presented as a large-format colour plate on a single page with facing text describing its historical and cultural significance, while the introduction situates the works in the context of the period and its art generally.
Andrew Topsfield is Senior Assistant Keeper, Department of Eastern Art, at the Ashmolean Museum and a member of the Oriental Institute in the University of Oxford. He has written and edited many books on the art of Mughal India.