The History, Art and Architecture of the Mughal Empire

The ‘Underground Mogor’: Portuguese Texts On Timurid India

Portrait of a European, ca. 1590. V&A Museum.

Jorge Flores will give a lecture on lesser known Portuguese texts on the Mughals on 15 November at the Center for Studies in Asian Cultures and Social Anthropology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, in Vienna.

From the last decades of the 16th century onwards, the Mughal Empire became an object of observation of different Europeans who lived or traveled in South Asia. Independent travelers, VOC and EIC officials, Jesuit missionaries and Estado da Índia agents, all wrote extensively about Timurid India. Some of these texts were printed and widely known back in Europe, thus molding the Western image(s) of the empire founded by Babur in 1526. Names like Thomas Roe, Edward Terry, Francisco Pelsaert, François de La Boullaye-Le-Gouz or François Bernier are cases in point and immediately come to mind. The present lecture aims to considering less known texts, drawings and their authors, and to discussing their conditions of production and circulation. A set of interesting materials, often in manuscript form and mostly penned by Portuguese authors, which constitute the basis of the “Underground Mogor“.


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