Royal Assemblies and Imperial Libraries: Polygonal Pavilions and Their Functions in Mughal and Safavid Architecture
This article examines the architectural form and potential functions of two royal buildings: the Sher Mandal and the Guldasta pavilion. An octagonal tower located in the Purana Qila in Delhi, the Sher Mandal was in all likelihood the library (kitab-khana) built by the Mughal emperor Humayun (r. 1530-56). Erected during the reign of the Safavid ruler Shah Abbas I (r. 1587-1629), the now-vanished Guldasta pavilion was located south of the palace complex in Isfahan and can be studied through drawings and photographs. A close examination of the formal structure of the two buildings reveals that they belong to a distinct type of polygonal pavilion that first emerged in the late fifteenth century in the works of architecture sponsored by the Timurid dynasty (c. 1370-1405). Moreover, this comparative study opens up new venues for investigating the physical setting of the royal kitab-khana in Mughal and Safavid contexts.
Emami, Farshid. 2019. "Royal Assemblies and Imperial Libraries: Polygonal Pavilions and Their Functions in Mughal and Safavid Architecture." South Asian Studies 35(1): 63-81.
South Asian Studies
Humayun, Isfahan, Delhi, Shah Abbas, Polygonal pavilions, Kitab-Khana