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The Mughal Emperor As Solomon, Majnun, And Orpheus, Or The Album As A Think Tankfor Allegory

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Chapter Summary

By the early seventeenth century, symbolic representation and allegory had emerged as a new genre in imperial Mughal painting. This chapter investigates how themes of classical Persian literature were adopted and adapted for Mughal imperial symbolism and self-representation. The author gives particular attention to the theme of Layla and Majnun, the Romeo and Juliet of Arabic and Persian literature, immortalized by Nizami of Ganja in his romance which forms part of his main work, the Khamsa. Solomon was a role model for many a Muslim ruler, but the Mughals had arguably been keener and more successful than others in visualizing Solomonic im agery and relating it to their own persons. The key to the allegorical meaning of the album page comes from the three images of Layla and Majnun pasted around Orpheus.

Keywords: Allegory; Majnun; Mughal Emperor; Nizami; Orpheus; Persian literature; Solomon



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