mughal history

The Woman Who Saved A Religion

The tenth and final Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, founded an egalitarian religious warrior community called the Khalsa in 1699. His father had been beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, and Singh lived his life fighting the Muslim Mughul Empire. Four of his sons died before him, either fighting the Mughuls or executed by them. The Mughals were determined that this small new religion would submit, and convert. The Sikhs were literally fighting for survival.

In 1704, the Mughuls attacked the city of Anandpur. Under Gobind Singh, the Sikhs were initially victorious, so the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb sent a larger army, with two of his top generals. A full-out siege ensued. Water and food supplies were cut off, and multiple minor battles happened while the city slowly succumbed. At one point, about forty Sikh warriors deserted Gobind Singh, and returned home to their families.

According to legend a Sikh woman, Mai Bhago, heard of the desertions. She was not going to stand for it. Mai Bhago shamed the deserters to return, and fight, and she would join them. They all died in the fighting, and only Mai Bhago – and Gobind Singh – survived. In thanks for her heroism, Mai Bhago was made part of Singh’s personal bodyguard.

A prince with his beloved, miniature pasted on cardboard, India, Amber and Jaipur, first half of the 18th century, 24.5 × 18.9 cm, The David Collection [Davids Samling], Copenhagen, Denmark. The style is clearly influenced by Mughal art, and it is suggested that the monumental painting is a posthumous portrait of the Great Mughal Shah Jahan’s eldest son and heir apparent Dara Shukoh and his wife Nadira Banu Begum, source: The David Collection [Davids Samling] is a museum of fine and applied art in Copenhagen, Denmark, built around the private collections of lawyer, businessman and art collector C. L. David [Christian Ludvig David] (1878–1960), source:


India (Punjab or Rajasthan), Mughal, 18th - 19th century

Gold, precious and semi-precious stones and pearls

Pictorial representations and literary accounts of jewelry from the Mughal era abound, for the wearing and appreciation of jewels and gems was considered an art in itself. The memoirs of Jahangir, for instance, record his decisions to wear certain pearls or rubies for important occasions, but the practice was not limited to royalty alone—travelers to India noted the quantity of jewelry worn by all members of society. Because very few of these pieces survive, most seventeenth-century jewelry is known only from paintings and written descriptions; extant pieces from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are much more numerous. This particular necklace, composed of diamonds, rubies, pearls, and imitation emeralds set in gold, might represent work for a new class of patrons, the British in India.

Turkic languages, with the exception of the courtly, hybrid Ottoman Turkish, are not related to Arabic or other Semitic languages. I’m so sick of seeing people, usually Westerners or Arabs, say that Turkic languages (usually Oghuz ones, but I’ve seen all of them), are derived from Arabic, are imitations of Arabic, or are effectively or literally the same.

Now, there is one sort of caveat; modern Turkic languages have lots of Arabic loan words as a result of Islamization, and even some Persian words, having relied on Persian high culture for administration and civil institutions in historic Turkic states, but loan words do not a related language make, or mean that Arabic is the ancestral language, or shares a common ancestor, with any Turkic languages, extant or otherwise.

Originally posted by tanridag-yolcusu

more medieval/royalty forbbiden love plots for y’all

i. muse a and muse b were close friends throughout childhood, eventually falling in love. however, life draws them apart and they never see each other again… until the day in which muse a, of higher ranking, meets their betrothed arranged by their parents. by their side, their closest friend, is muse b.

ii. muse a is a well-instructed commoner, a humble person with a brilliant mind and dreams of being an inventor. they’re given the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with their country’s monarch and present a project to them so it may be financed. in the palace, they cross pathes with muse b, the monarch’s child who can seldom leave the palace. muse b takes personal interest in muse a and they keep finding excuses to meet, even with the knowledge that this love could never be.

iii. muse a is not merely the newest, unwitting courtier. they’ve been put in muse b’s palace with very specific finalties: grow close to them, gather information and destroy them. kill them with their own hands, if they must. unfortunately for them, they fall in love with muse b in the process. twist: they fall in love with one of muse b’s relatives, as in their sibling or spouse.

iv. muse a and muse b come from very different kingdoms. different languages, different religions, different cultures. still, they meet in a diplomatic meeting in which muse a is host in muse b’s palace so they may talk. something spark between them and, between letters and meetings that stray beyond politics, they find the desire to be with each other.

Carved carnelian seal set in gold, Mughal Empire, 1730.

The inscription is in Urdu written with Nastaʿlīq script and reads
الواثق بالله الصمد الغني
عبده أفضل الحسيني ١١٤٣
“Confident in God the Eternal, the Independent. Abdo Afdal al Husseini 1143″

My dad bought this in London in the 1960s and knew it was Persian or Indian but didn’t know the specifics. My friend Robert helped translate.

Carpet with Palm Trees, Ibexes, and Birds

Pakistan (Lahore), Mughal, late 16th - early 17th century

Cotton (warp and weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile

This carpet, with its pictorial depiction of trees, birds, and animals, is conceived like a textile with a repeat design in which each unit reverses the direction of the preceding one. The ibexes, Chinese mythological beasts called qilins, and animals in combat, are derived from Safavid Persian art, as is the border design of cartouches and star-shaped medallions with cloud bands. The palm tree, however, is a very Indian feature, as is the generally naturalistic drawing of the flora and fauna and the bright red color of the field. The relationship to Persian carpet design dates this example to the early Mughal period, soon after the first carpet workshops were established by the emperor Akbar in Lahore, Agra, and Fatehpur Sikri.


This is a gem of a Mughal mausoleum tucked in the Northern heartland - Shah Pir’s mazar. The brothers, Shah Pir and his elder one lie buried here, but certainly not forgotten. It is said that it was Noor Jehan who commissioned this one in the name of Shah Pir, in 1620 A.D. An elegant monument which surprises the unsuspecting visitor when thenl narrow lane opens up to this sanctuary.

The bigger structure has lost it’s roof. That is Shah Pir’s. His brother is in the smaller one, to the left.

When in the Indian heartland, advice is, go slow! Tread softly! And live the bygone. 

“Suna hai sufiyon se hamne aksar khanaqahon mein
Ki yeh rangeen bayani Bedam rangeen bayan tak hai”

Rosewater Sprinkler

India, Mughal, c. 1700

Silver and gold

The scent of the rose, a beloved cultivar of the Mughals, was incorporated into every court encounter through the ritual misting of guests with rosewater. This ingeniously engineered bottle emphasizes the association between the rose’s form and its fragrance. When inverted to sprinkle perfume, the petals on the bottle’s mouth open outwards like a budding rose. Tame peacocks and peahens, which roamed Mughal gardens, appear here on either side of the flower-adorned vessel, arching gracefully back to preen their feathers. The subtle decorative flourish that lengthens the peahen’s silhouette, to echo her mate’s, exemplifies the balance of symmetry and naturalism intrinsic to the Mughal garden aesthetic.