The Mughals - descendants of Timur and Genghiz Khan with strong cultural ties to the Persian world - seized political power in north India in 1526 and became the most important artistically active Muslim dynasty on the subcontinent. In this richly illustrated book, Dr Milo Beach shows how, between 1555 and 1630 in particular, Mughal patronage of the arts was incessant and radically innovative for the Indian context. The Mughals also profoundly altered the character of painting in the Hindu areas of north India over which they ruled. These initially independent territories belonged to Rajputs, Hindus of the warrior caste. The author reveals how Mughal painting was defined by the styles popular at the imperial court, whereas Pajput painting consisted of many local court styles, corresponding to the various Hindu kingdoms, each with different tastes and artistic inspirations. Deeply rooted in Indian artistic traditions, Rajput paintings were also closely allied to imagery popular with Indian villagers and to works made for temple use throughout the subcontinent.
By reproducing nearly 200 examples in this study, Milo Beach traces the interplay of the traditions of Mughal and Rajput painting from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. He demonstrates the tolerance each showed towards outside influence and change and thus helps to define a uniquely Indian attitude towards the arts. The author also expands his narrative by listing, in an appendix, important dated manuscripts and related publications. Mughal and Rajput Painting makes a major contribution to the study of north Indian painting. This work will be widely read by students and specialists of art history, Indian history and South Asian studies as well as by anyone interested in Indian art.