The Rajput princes of South Asia in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries built beautiful palaces with gardens and commissioned manuscript paintings that rivaled those of their Mughal contemporaries. Although the Hindu Rajputs and Muslim Mughals were variously allies and foes, neither political relations nor religious faith prevented artistic exchanges from occurring between them. Just as the Mughals embraced and internalized Indic forms such as the chhatri, the Rajputs likewise appropriated forms such as the four-part garden known as the chahar bagh, not as a direct transfer but a reworking and renegotiation of form and expression. While the Rajput chahar baghs are the only ones to have attracted the attention of historians, most likely because they fit neatly into a recognized architectural type, Rajput patrons also built other kinds of gardens with rectilinear and curving parterres, deep pools with “floating” pavilions, lotus gardens, and orchards resembling sacred groves. Some of these appear in Mughal sites too, typically inserted into a chahar bagh. The essay looks at how typological forms were shared and adapted by the Mughals and Rajputs, and asks what such forms may have meant to their respective patrons. It concludes by proposing that the definition of art historical fields—divided along religious lines between Islam and Hinduism—often impedes such inquiries.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAn Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9789004255760
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0732-2992


  • gardens
  • appropriation
  • manuscript painting
  • Amber Fort
  • Nagaur Fort
  • Orchha palaces
  • India
  • historiography
  • Hindu
  • Rajput
  • Mughal
  • architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • History


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