Saturday, November 14, 2009

Patronage of the Decorative Arts

The interest of the Mughals in the decorative art is seen from the time of Emperor Akbar (1556-1605). Their patronage gains momentum during the periods of Jahangir (1605- 1627 ) and Shah Jahan (1628-1658).

Chroniclers write about the emperors and their personal interests in different types of craft and craftsmen. Royal workshops to produce objects of decorative arts were set up in Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Delhi, Lahore and Ahmedabad. Skilled craftsmen were commissioned from within and outside the country. Royal titles such as Nadir-uz-Zaman (Wonder of the Realm), Nadir-ul-Asr (Wonder of the Age), Hunarmand (the skilled one) were conferred upon outstanding artists and craftsmen.

Courtiers, diplomatic envoys, traders and merchants were in constant search of rare, unique and tasteful gifts which could be given to the emperor to get the royal favor.

The reverberations of such patronage are felt even today.