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Carpets and Canopies of Mughal India

March 22 - September 8

Carpets and canopies designated portable courtly spaces among nomadic groups. The Mughals of India used carpets and canopies to mark royal presence. Even when the Mughals settled in permanent stone structures, a special carpet (jharokha) signaled the window where the populace could see and petition the emperor from below. Other regional rulers all over India soon adopted the use of the jharokha carpet to locate other members of a royal household. Mughal carpets were not meant to be walked on, functioning more like furniture and creating an intimate space where courtly pleasures were enjoyed.

Image: Babur receives booty and Humayun’s salute after the victory over Sultan Ibrahim in 1526, from an Akbar-nama (Book of Akbar) of Abu’l Fazl (Indian, 1551–1602), c. 1596–1597 or 1604. India, Mughal court, made for Emperor Akbar.  2013.308

Venue

Cleveland Museum of Art
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