Title

Royal Assemblies and Imperial Libraries: Polygonal Pavilions and Their Functions in Mughal and Safavid Architecture

Abstract

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.

Publisher

Routledge Journals

Publication Date

5-1-2019

Publication Title

South Asian Studies

Department

Art History

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1080/02666030.2019.1605564

Keywords

Humayun, Isfahan, Delhi, Shah Abbas, Polygonal pavilions, Kitab-Khana

Language

English

Format

text

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