Peter Alford Andrews Analysis

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Mughal Art Presentation: Summary of Peter Alford Andrews’ essay: The Generous Heart or the Mass of Clouds: The Court Tents of Shah Jahan. We’ve always been curious about the way of life of celebrities and of course, royalty. Think about all the extensive documentaries made on the way the rich and the famous lived- from the mirrored halls of Versailles to the Buckimgham Palace to the Forts and Mehels of Indian maharajas. Haven’t we all wanted to spend a night in the ‘heritage hotels’ like the Lake Palace of Udaipur- for example- to know how it feels to be royal. These ways of living- survive as buildings. In this class, our interest lies in emperors who were willingly- or unwillingly- constantly on the move. That, however didn’t mean they didn’t travel in style. The essay I’m summarising is about one of the most stylish, lavish emperors, Shah Jahan. It’s called the Generous Heart or the Mass of Clouds: the Court Tents of Shah Jahan. Peter Alford Andrews begins with stating that of all the Islamic rulers, the tentage of the Mughals has been most extensively documented. Further on, it’s Shah Jahan’s tents that have been most vividly described. So, in the next 10 minutes or so, let’s duck into a Mughal camp. To recreate tents, we must rely on several accounts- the literary narrative of the courtiers, who tend to exaggerate the…show more content…
What we know of the subsequent tents show that two or three years were needed to make one of such size. Khafi Khan, writing in the next reign, records in fact that the Dal-Badal had been made ready at great expense over a long period by the overseers of the tent stores (farrashkhana) in Kashmir, where Jahangir had been just before his death. He goes on to add: "And for the space of two months so many thousand tentmen labored night and day with the help of strong-bodied elephants, and they were unable to set it up; and when it was set up it adorned heaven and earth with fresh
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