Spring 2021

Beyond the Taj Mahal: Art and Architecture of Mughal India

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-268  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-268  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-268


Yael R. Rice (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 268, ARCH 268, and ASLC 268) Founded in 1526 by a Muslim prince from Central Asia, the Mughal dynasty dominated the political landscape of South Asia (including present-day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh) until the middle of the nineteenth century. The influence of the Mughal Empire also extended well beyond South Asia, making it one of the most important states in the premodern global arena. This course will examine the great range of art and architecture produced for the Mughal emperors and members of their court, placing special emphasis on how these materials (and their makers) helped create a powerful, multifaceted image of empire. We will explore lavishly illustrated manuscripts and monumental architecture, including the justly famous Taj Mahal, but also expand our purview to consider less studied objects such as carved jade vessels, inscribed gems, inlaid metalwork, and textiles. We will pay particular attention to Mughal encounters with the arts of India's Hindu kings, the Safavid Empire, the Jesuit missionaries, the royal courts of Europe, and the British East India Company. Films and museum websites will supplement assigned readings and lectures. Participation in class discussion, a significant component of the course, is expected. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.

This remotely taught course will incorporate synchronous and asynchronous community-building small-group activities, cutting-edge digital approaches to the study of architecture and objects, and, when possible, visits to local museum collections. Students who are unable to attend synchronous class meetings will be accommodated.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Rice.

If Overenrolled: Priority to ARHA and ASLC majors, then juniors, seniors in order to achieve a range of students across the disciplines.


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Writing, Fine Arts for Non-majors, Online Only, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2016