The Planetary King mapinpub

The Planetary King

Humayun Padshah, Inventor and Visionary on the Mughal Throne
Ebba Koch

Humayun, the son of Babur and the second Mughal ruler, reigned in Agra from 1530 to 1540 and then in Delhi from 1555 to 1556.

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Humayun, the son of Babur and the second Mughal ruler, reigned in Agra from 1530 to 1540 and then in Delhi from 1555 to 1556.
Until now, his numerous achievements, including winning back the throne of Hindustan, have not been well recorded. Humayun neither wrote an autobiography nor had a historian to glorify him; the eccentric accounts of his historian Khwandamir elude general comprehension.

The Planetary King follows Humayun’s travels and campaigns during the political and social disturbances of the early sixteenth century. It delves into Humayun’s extraordinary social and intellectual life; demystifies his magico-scientific world view, draws attention to his deep involvement with literature, poetry, painting, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, occultism and extraordinary inventions, and offers a new analysis of Humayun’s mausoleum as the posthumous sum of his visions and dreams.

Bringing this fascinating exploration to life in vivid detail, this volume includes hundreds of beautifully reproduced photographs and illustrations—from reconstructions of Humayun’s buildings to depictions of live events. The book accompanies the new site museum at Humayun’s tomb created by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture upon the culmination of two decades of conservation work on the World Heritage Site.

Ebba Koch, pre-eminent art and architectural historian, has been a professor at the Institute of Art History in Vienna, Austria and taught at the universities of Oxford and Harvard. She specialises in the art and culture of the Great Mughals of South Asia and their artistic connections to Central Asia, Iran and Europe and is considered a leading authority on Mughal architecture. In 2016, Koch became the advisor to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, India. She has published numerous papers in journals and volumes on Indian and Islamic architecture and art, which also address cultural issues of interest to political, social and economic historians. Her volume The Complete Taj Mahal (2006/2012) has become the standard work on the subject. She recently edited together with Ali Anooshahr the collective volume The Mughal Empire from Jahangir to Shah Jahan (2019).

• Preface and Acknowledgements
• Introduction
• Part I: The Planetary King
• Assessments of Humayun
• Humayun’s Life
• Part II: Humayun’s Inventions
• Interests
• Inventions
• Humayun’s Court: Reality or Literary Utopia?
• Humayun and the Construction of the Mughal Myth: The Emperor as Sun King
• Humayun as Founder of the Mughal School of Painting
• Humayun’s Buildings
• Gardens and the Attitude to Nature
• Part III: Humayun’s Tomb: Invention and Memorial of the Padshah
• The Architect and the Key Design
• The Garden and its Subsidiary Buildings
• The Mausoleum
• Conclusion
ISBN 9789385360985
Pages 384
Number of photographs 273
Size 9.75 x 11.75” (247.6 x 298 mm), hc
Date of Publishing Fall 2022
Language(s) English
Co-publisher(s) Mapin, co-published with Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Rights Available World rights
“This is a truly extraordinary book. It takes as its subject the personality and remarkable cultural achievements of the second and least appreciated of the six ‘Great Moghuls’, Humayun the son of Babur, and restores him to the place he rightfully should occupy as the founder of Mughal monarchic culture. Professor Koch has brought her unparalleled knowledge of Mughal history and artistic culture into a sharply penetrating focus on Humayun’s career and his many contributions to architecture, science, and literature besides his role in creating a Mughal ruling ideology. Particularly effective is the way in which so many aspects of Humayun’s cultural legacy are brought together into a unified whole and how those aspects were then adopted and adapted by his successors.”

—R. D. McChesney, Professor Emeritus, New York University