Islamic Art in the Mughal Sultanate

Mughals’ history in India is not restricted to conquests and public governance. Rather, there is also an extensive side of the Mughal sultanate in India. Mughal Emperor builds such architecture and buildings which are a critical part of Islamic art and history. The Mughal architecture is a collaboration between Islamic and Indian art whose history spans over 300 years.

1. Emergence of Mughal Architecture

Early Mughal emperors such as Babar and Humayun were mostly involved in wars and conquests. Therefore, Islamic art began in the reign of Akbar in a true manner. Akbar focused upon empire-building in India just after his father’s death. He commissioned the construction of places, infrastructure, mosques, and gardens. Some of his notable works to be named are Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar’s royal city, and Akbar’s own tomb in Sikandra. Mughal architecture in his period depicts the influence of Persian and Arabic art in the India and Pakistan.

2. Peak of Mughal Islamic Art

Mughal architecture reached its prime under the reign of Shah Jahan who introduced delegate elegance to it. The most prominent art under him was the construction of the Taj Mahal which is one of the 7 wonders of the world. Apart from this, Moti Masjid, Agra Fort, and the Sheesh Mahal are his most significant contributions. In Lahore, built Shalimar Gardens in 1642. His son Aurangzeb was also interested in Islamic architecture to the most. He built various mosques in current India and Pakistan. Aurangzeb was also the pioneer of the Lahore fort and 13 gates. Later Mughal Emperors also continued the Islamic art and traditions but at a low pace.

3. Calligraphy under Mughal Empire

The exterior decorations of different Mughal architecture involved the use of Calligraphy of Quran verses. Mughal Emperors were fond of such work especially Aurangzeb who is considered to be an orthodox Muslim emperor in the history. For example, the Taj Mahal building has calligraphy of Quranic verses along with vegetable motifs are executed in paints. Moreover, the inner architecture of the Taj Mahal also shows the same Islamic art by the experts of that time.

4. Painting of the Mughal Period

Mughal paintings are collaborative work of Indian and Persian styles which are an essential part of Islamic art. Islamic paintings were created in the peak form during Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan’s period. However, Aurangzib Alamgir did not encourage the painting work. During the time of Jahangir, European’s made way to India due to which their influence was also depicted in his period. These influences can be noticed in the life biography “Jahangirnama”.

During the Mughal period, Rajput were also a force to be recognized. They were also in alliance with Mughal Sultanate for a long time. Their influence is also observed among historians related to Islamic art and architecture. The different styles of Islamic paintings are given below.

  • Rajhastani Style
  • Pahari Style
  • Punjabi Style

Overall, the period of the Mughal Sultanate is a significant landmark in the history of Islamic architecture and art. Therefore, the upcoming generations should be made familiar with this creative work of Muslim emperors.

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