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On the Threshold of Paradise: Poetry and Painting in Mughal Kashmir

Emperor Jahangir Hunting with Hawks, Mughal dynasty, late 17th century. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper.
The British Museum, BM1920,0917,0.1. ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Lecture Benjamin and Barbara Zucker Lecture in Mughal Art

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

The valley of Kashmir, the summer retreat for the Mughal court, held a special place for the imperial family in the 17th century. Through the efforts of several individuals, especially the Mughal governor Zafar Khan ‘Ahsan’, Kashmir became a center of Persian poetry and painting. Under Emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1628–58), the court’s annual journey to the valley, and the region’s natural beauty, buildings, and gardens were celebrated in verse and painting. Over time, imperial interest transformed Kashmir into a major center for the production of illustrated manuscripts of the Persian classics, especially the Shahnama, which were exported to other parts of the Persophone world. This public lecture by Sunil Sharma, professor of Persianate and comparative literature at Boston University, will trace Kashmir’s rise in the Mughal period and its role in the history of early modern Persian poetry and painting.

Free admission

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

This lecture is supported by a generous grant from Benjamin and Barbara Zucker.