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History of Decorative Art in Mughal Architecture

History of Decorative Art in Mughal Architecture
Item Code: IDD307
Author: R. Nath
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 1976
ISBN: 812080077X
Pages: 262
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.7" x 5.7"
(b&w.illus.: 176)

From the Jacket

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 which were in vogue in the Orient. The Mughal decorative art is not an expression in isolation, it is a link in the continuous growth of the art of the people. The author studies the evolutionary process of every aspect of this art in its different phases and analyses the inspirations which led to its appearance on such a magnificent scale in Mughal buildings.

The book explains scores of obscure and controversial points and corrects the popular misnomers; it throws light on the little known facts-e.g. the use by the Mughals of fabulous animals, Tantric symbols, and Chinese Cloud-forms.

Covering the subject in 4 chapters-Symbolic motifs, Typical Islamic elements, Animate motifs and Chinese Cloud-forms and Dado art-the author introduces the reader to our medieval heritage through 15 figures and 161 Plates.

Various appendices, a rich bibliography and an index supplement the utility of the book.




Chapter I. Depiction of Symbolic Motif in Mughal Architecture 

(a) Purna-kalasa
(b) Padma
(c) Gavaksa and Kirtimukha
(d) Svastika
(e) Cakra
(f) Srivatsa
(g) Chain-and-bell
(h) Satkona

Chapter II. Absorption of Typically Islamic Elements in Mughal Architecture

(a) Spirit of the Islamic Art
(b) Arabesque
(c) Stalactite
(d) Geometricals
(e) Growth and Development of Naturalistic and Stylized Designs in Mughal Art

Chapter III. Usage of Animate Motifs in Mughal Architecture

(a) The Quranic Injunctions against Idolatry vis-a-vis the Islamic Iconoclasm
(b) Animation in Islamic Architecture
(c) Animation in Handicrafts and Miniature-painting
(d) Animate 'Tughras'
(e) Talismans
(f) Animation in Mosques
(g) The Canonic Orthodoxy in Indian during the Sultanate period
(h) Advent of Babur and the Dawn of an Era
(i) Depiction of Animate Motifs in the Buildings of Akbar
(j) 'Mayura-Mandapa' of the Agra Fort
(k) Animation at Fatehpur Sikri
(l) The Age of Jehangir
(m) Animate Motifs at the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, Agra
(n) The Aftermath
(o) Depiction of Fabulous Animals (Gaja-vyala) at the Delhi-gate of Agra Fort

Chapter IV. Chinese Cloud-Forms and the Dado-Art of the Mughals

(a) Kalpalata
(b) Wave-Motif in Ancient Indian Art
(c) Undefined Symbolism of the Wave in India
(d) Wave ("TCHI") : A Fundamental Principle of the Chinese Art
(e) Chinese Dragon and the Indian Makara
(f) Stylized 'Wave' in Mughal Architecture
(g) Formulation of the Dado-Art in Mughal Architecture


A. Chronology of the Mughal Monuments
B. Some Typically Islamic Architectural Terms
C. Some Illustrative Examples of Animate Motifs used on Islamic Pottery, Faience, Glass, Textiles and Brocade
D. A Few Representative Examples of the Depiction of Tchi (Chinese Cloud-forms) in Chinese Art
E. A Few Representative Examples of the Depiction of Kilin (Chinese Cloud-forms) in Persian Painting




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