A Mughal painting

A bigger picture

European ambassadors seeking to establish a good relationship with the Mughal emperor, brought with them gifts which influenced Indian material culture. In turn, Indian art and luxury goods that reached Europe, paintings and textiles in particular, were highly sought after and influenced European tastes. However, India’s trading relations with China were much older and we can tell from inscriptions on individual pieces that Chinese ceramics were treasured by generations of Mughal emperors. This selection of objects gives a flavour of the interrelationships among demand, taste and influence.

Chinese export vase


This late Ming porcelain vase was made in China for export to Mughal India. The design was probably inspired by Mughal Indian textiles.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=255290&partId=1&searchText=porcelain+mughal&page=1

Porcelain dish

This dish was made in China in AD 1488-1505. It has Jahangir’s name inscribed on the bottom showing it was owned by him.

From the Victoria & Albert Museum.

See more See more: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O183540/dish-unknown/

A mix of styles


This base for a huqqa (water-pipe) was made in China for export to Mughal India. Its decoration incorporates traditional Chinese motifs and Islamic-style calligraphy. Its shape is based on Indian metalwork.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=227131&partId=1&searchText=mughal+pipe&images=true&page=1

Two huqqas


These jade huqqa bases were originally from Mughal India, but were subsequently set on ormolu and marble mounts made by a French refugee craftsman working in London.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/two-jade-bases-for-a-huqqa-pipe/LwHv95e5X_jebw

Rembrandt drawing


Four Orientals seated under a tree, a drawing based on miniatures from Mughal India by Rembrandt van Rijn, working in the Netherlands.

See more See more: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/rembrandt-van-rijn-four-orientals-seated-under-a-tree-a-drawing/YAEYlAmQozbOAw

Europeans by a Mughal artist


A Portuguese couple painted in Mughal style during Jahangir’s reign.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=183765&partId=1&searchText=mughal+european+&images=true&page=1

An English ambassador


Mughal painting of Jahangir investing a courtier with a robe of honour, watched by Sir Thomas Roe (identifiable by his European-style clothes).

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?assetId=6660&objectId=231669&partId=1
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A Mughal painting