Books have been treasured for centuries in the Islamic world, as precious objects worthy of royal admiration. This was especially true in Muslim India, where generations of Mughal emperors commissioned and collected volumes of richly illuminated manuscripts and lavishly illustrated folios. They assembled workshops of the leading artists and calligraphers to produce the books that filled their extensive libraries. Today, those works remain a vibrant part of India's cultural and artistic history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this revised and expanded edition of his popular 1981 book, Dr Milo Beach presents the superb collection of Mughal painting in the Freer Gallery of Art. He adds many of the outstanding works that entered the collection with the opening of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 1987. Together, the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian's museums of Asian art, have the distinction of being one of the world's leading repositories of Mughal art. An introductory essay examines the Mughal art of the book and traces the contributions of a succession of rulers in Muslim India.
Brief artist biographies and an extensive bibliography complete this updated volume.