History of Art Research Seminar: Catherine Asher | The Taj Mahal: Mughal Architecture, Ideology and the Construction of Kingship


  • Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 17:15 to 18:30

  • Hunter Building, Hunter Lecture Theatre (017)
    74 Lauriston Place
    Edinburgh
    EH3 9DF

This seminar by Professor Catherine Asher of the University of Minnesota is the fifth in the History of Art Research Seminar Series 2016 - 2017.

Catherine is a specialist in Islamic and Indian art from 1200 to the present and well known for her work on the Mughal dynasty (1526-1858).

Her current work focuses on architecture by Hindus, Jains, Muslims and Sikhs in cities across north India.

She has published widely, including the following books: Architecture of Mughal India (1992), India before Europe  (with C. Talbot, 2006), Perceptions of South Asia's Visual Past (1994). 

Mughal Architecture, Ideology and the Construction of Kingship

Catherine's talk will focus on the intersections between the political ideology of the Mughals (1526-1858) and the production of art and architecture as a way of showcasing the imperial image. 

Commencing with ancient Indic ideas of sovereignty, she will cover concepts of monarchy from the first Mughals in the first half of the 16th century, and then under Akbar and his successors during the later 16th and 17th centuries. This discussion will also include the patronage of high ranking Hindu and Muslim nobles and their role in the promotion of Mughal concepts of kingship.

This talk will discuss architecture and historical illustrated texts as visual elements that help underpin the semi-divine aspect of Mughal kingship. 

Reference will also be made to two other important contemporary Islamic dynasties, the Ottomans of Turkey and the Safavids of Iran, each of whom has radically different notions of imperial authority.

The event is free and open to all.

This event is part of the History of Art Research Seminar Series of talks by guest speakers and colleagues. Find out more about the series.