Bihishtābād

The History, Art and Architecture of the Mughal Empire

The Symbolic Possession of the World: European Cartography in Mughal Allegory and History Painting

Jahangir’s Dream (around 1620) by Abul Hassan showing Abbas I and Jahangir standing on a globe.

Ebba Koch’s new article on European cartography in Mughal painting in the latest issue of the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient:

From their earliest contacts with Europeans, the Mughals sought to obtain maps, atlases, and globes. They were, however, concerned with cartography less as a scientific tool than as a means to convey messages of status and power. Both cartographically correct and cartographically manipulated globes feature prominently in the allegories of Emperor Jahāngīr. Emperor Shāh Jahān added another dimension: European cartographical devices were introduced into history painting, to structure the imperial landscape and to document the emperor’s conquests.

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