British Library's autumn programme to feature Mughal India, Bollywood

India News Bulletin Desk

Historians, artists and anyone interested in exploring one of the most powerful and splendid dynasties of the world – the Mughals – can look forward to the British Library autumn exhibition -- Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire -- which will feature paintings, portraits and manuscripts. The exhibition will be on for six months starting November.

Allavardi Khan on horseback. Artwork from Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire
Image: British Library press site

The exhibition will launch during the Asian Art in London week on November 9 and will be on until April 2, 2013.

The British Library is the first to document and showcase the entire historical period, from the 16th to the 19th century, through more than 200 exquisite manuscripts and the finest paintings.

Among the highlights of the Mughal India exhibition are:

  • the oldest surviving copy of Emperor Babur’s (r. 1526-30) memoirs in Eastern Turkish, the Mughals' ancestral language
  • an imperial copy of the Khamsa of Nizami made for Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605)
  • the marriage certificate of Emperor Bahadur Shah II  (r. 1837-58)
  • richly painted portraits of the Mughal emperors

Mughal Empire is one of the world's great dynasties. At its peak, the empire stretched from Kabul in the northwest and over most of the South Asian subcontinent.

According to the UK’s national library, the six-month exhibition will offer a glimpse into the Mughal emperors’ lavish courtly life and love of aesthetic beauty. It will also provide a visual feast that explores politics as well as their patronage of the arts and sciences, and monuments such as the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.

Tickets for the exhibition will cost about £9 but is free for the under 18s.

Mughal Nites

Also on November 9, 2012, the British Library’s Artist in Residence Christopher Green and DJ Ritu along with others will be hosting a Kuch Kuch party featuring an “extraordinary night of music, performance and spectacle inspired by a party at a Mughal palace”. Other prominent features of the performance party include work by mehndi artists Ash Kumar and performance by outdoor specialist Nutkhut. A bar and Indian street food will also be available, the British Library has said.

The event is presented in association with the South Asian Literature Festival and the tickets will cost £7.50.


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