India. The Mughal Empire. Costume and fashion history.

Akabar, costume, Jahangir, India, Mughal, Empire, costumes, Auguste Racinet
Indian Mughal Empire costumes. ‘Le Costume Historique’ by Auguste Racinet. Lithographed by Chataignon for Firmin Didot. Paris 1876-1888.

The Fascination of the Indian Costumes.

Indian Mughal Empire.

Pictures of famous women and men of the glorious time of the north Indian Mughal era. In the heyday of the Mughal era and the fall production of elaborately painted miniature paintings. Subjects were mostly the life of the ruler and the nobility of the great Islamic courts such as Delphi, Agra, Lahore but also stories from the glorious past. Hindu legends, gods, dancers and so on. For the miniature paintings precious pigments were used.

India Mughal,  Empire, costume, Ceremonies, Religious, Customs,
Calvalcade of the Great Lord. The celebration of the weights of the Mughal Empire

Above picture from: Ceremonies and Religious Customs of the Various Nations 1723. Engraver Bernard Picart. Publisher: Jean Frederic Bernard.

The Mughal Empire was existing from 1526 to 1858 in the Indian subcontinent State. The heartland of the empire was located in the northern Indian Indus-Gangetic plains around the cities of Delhi, Agra and Lahore. At the height of its power in the 17th century, the Mughal Empire covered almost the entire subcontinent and parts of today’s Afghanistan. The Mughal Empire was known for his tolerance of other religions and had a much higher standard of living than Europe at that time.

General,  guards, Emperor, Delphi, Mughal, Empire
General of the guards of the Emperor. Delphi.

The first Mughal emperor Babur (Babur Schah, Ẓahīr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Bābur, reigned 1526-1530), a prince of Central Asia of the Timurid dynasty conquered from the territory of the present-day states of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, the Sultanate of Delhi. As the most important Mughal emperor Akbar is (reigned 1556-1605), who consolidated the kingdom militarily, politically and economically.

Mughal, emperor, Babur, Ẓahīr-ud-Dīn Muḥammad,India,
Mughal emperor Babur leading a Military Shipping.

Above picture: Mughal emperor leading a Military Shipping. Babur setting out with his army.
Costume de Guerre du XVIe siècle. Empereur Mogol conduisant une Expédition Militaire.Ces fragments sont tirés d’une peinture représentant Djahir-el-din Mohammed, surnommé Bâber (le Tigre), roi et empereur des Indes, partant à la tête de son armée pour envahir la province de Mazindera, en Perse. X  Auguste Racinet

These fragments are from a painting of Ẓahīr-ud-Dīn Muḥammad (1483–1530), nicknamed Babur (Persian babr, meaning Tiger) reign 1526–1530, eldest son of Umar Sheikh Mirza. The King and Emperor of India, leaving at the head of his army to invade the province of Mazindera, Persia. He was the Indian emperor and founder of the Mughal dynasty of India, a descendant of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan and also of Timur (Tamerlane).

He was a military adventurer and soldier of distinction and a poet and diarist of genius, as well as a statesman. Babur is rightly considered the founder of the Indian Mughal Empire, even though the work of consolidating the empire was performed by his grandson Akbar.

Babur, moreover, provided the glamour of magnetic leadership that inspired the next two generations. Babur was a military adventurer of genius, an empire builder of good fortune, and an engaging personality. He was also a Turkey poet of considerable gifts that would have won him distinction apart from his political career.

He was a lover of nature who constructed gardens wherever he went and complemented beautiful spots by holding convivial parties. Finally, his prose memoirs, the Babur-nameh, have become a world classic of autobiography. They were translated from Turki into Persian in Akbar’s reign (1589) and were translated into English in two volumes in 1921-22 with the title Memoirs of Babur.

The Mogul is represented with all the attributes of the ruler, especially the parasol, carried over him. He is wearing a silk jacket, short sleeved, and a round shaped skirt, with ornamental design and large metal button-plate on his chest.

The jacked is padded to protect against the arrows and his knees are also protected by metal plates. In his right hand, he is holding one of the offensive weapons of the time, a spear, with ends being finished with decorated metal, on the left side he wears a saber and on his belt, a quiver with feather arrows is attached.

The soldier behind him carries a hammer like weapon, which could also be a heavy wood club, he is holding it with both his hands, indicating the heaviness of the weapon. The mogul’s horse is entirely protected with armor of overlapped blades.

An interesting feature is that he does not were the rider’s boots but his personal slippers. Another interesting feature of this painting is the lack of elephants in his army. Before the ruler, we see a number of infantrymen who proceed him and by shouting create a necessary room for him to pass.”

Coat, Maharaja, Sawai, Jai Singh,, Jaipur, India, costume
Coat of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, founder of Jeypore (Jaipur); silk and gold, embroidered with silk. Property of H.H. The Maharaja of Jeypore. From a photograph and drawings by Piari Lal.

Coat of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (1686-1743) , founder of Jeypore (Jaipur); silk and gold, embroidered with silk. (Source: Memorials of the Jeypore Exhibition 1883 by Thomas Holbein Hendley, 1883.)

Above: India in words and pictures: a description of the Indian Empire by Emil Schlagintweit, 1881.

India, Map, Mughal, Empire,
Map of the Mughal Empire 17th century.
Mughal, Empire, Court, Delhi, Gurkani,گورکانیان‎, Gūrkāniyān, Mug̱ẖliyah, Salṭanat
Mughal Empire. Court at Delhi.

Above pictures from the book: Asia, or: Detailed Description Of The Empire of the Great Mongols (Moghuls) and a great part of the Indies, by Olfert Dapper in 1681.

Moghul, Emperor, Farrukhsiyar, Babur, Costumes, Auguste Razinet
Emperor Farouksiar and Emperor Babur.

Picture above: Farrukhsiyar and Babur, by Auguste Racinet. Upper left corner: A Mogul woman who has colored her upper body and face yellow with saffron dye. Center: The Mogul Emperor Farouksiar, who died in 1719, and the  Emperor Houmaioun (upper right corner),  who died in 1556.

Moghul, Emperor,Shah Alam, Costumes,Auguste Razinet,
Emperor Shah Alam

Picture above: Two miscellaneous “Mogul emperors,” and Shah Alam. The larger figures on the sides are Mogul emperors, wearing identical clothes. A cloth turban ends in a point over the forehead; and a golden band set with pearls and precious stones surmounts it. At the turban’s crown a jewel representing the sun supports a spray of feathers – a royal symbol. In the center is Shah Alem with a kounda,  straight saber, in a sheath covered with velvet.”

Grand Moghul, Emperor, Grand, Costumes, Auguste Razinet
The Grand Mogul and his court, by Auguste Racinet’s Costume History.

Picture above: The Grand Mogul and his court. This reproduction of an Indian miniature represents a Grand Mogul sitting on a throne. The miniature dates from the 17th century. These thrones were of elaborate ornamentation and raised admiration wherever they appeared. The main motif of the ornamentation here is a peacock. Similar elaborate thrones were mounted on horses and elephants. Two persons on the left represent the officials of the royal court. It is not clear, what was the function of the person sitting on the hexagonal chair, most likely it was Himad-oud-Deulet, the prime minister.

Mughal miniature paintings.

Above pictures from the book: Monuments anciens et modernes de l’Hindoustan, decrits sous le double rapport archaeologique et pittoresque, et precedes d’une notice geographique, d’une notice historique, et d’un discours sur la religion, la legislation et les moeurs des hindous. Louis Mathieu Langlès. Paris: P. Didot, 1821.

Detailed Description Of The Empire of the Great Moghuls. India Mughal costumes.
Frontispiz of the book: Asia, or: Detailed Description Of The Empire of the Great Mongols (Moghuls) and a great part of the Indies by Olfert Dapper in 1681.

Literature:

  • Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire. Published to accompany a major British Library exhibition, Mughal India showcases the British Library’s extensive collection of illustrated manuscripts and paintings commissioned by Mughal emperors and other officials.
  • Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India
  • Indian Textiles (Revised and Expanded Edition)
  • Handmade in India: A Geographic Encyclopedia of India Handicrafts
  • Nomadic Embroideries: India’s Tribal Textile Art
  • Ralli Quilts: Traditional Textiles from Pakistan and India (Schiffer Book for Designers and Collectors)
  • V&A Pattern: Indian Florals: (Hardcover with CD)
  • Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West
  • Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500– to 1800

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