2 essays of 500 words each on the Islamic works discussed in essays A and B.
ESSAY A: The Taj Mahal complex and gardens. Discuss the Taj Mahal
complex and gardens fully. Address architecture, plan, water works, landscape
setting, function, decoration, patron, and historical and cultural context. Make sure
you discuss all parts of the tomb complex, not just the mausoleum and funerary
garden immediately around it. Also analyze the types of floral decoration in the Taj
Mahal and possible sources for it. How does the Taj Mahal complex show
continuity with other Mughal gardens, tomb complexes, and palaces we have
studied in class? What were some important precursors? What features of the Taj
Mahal complex did they influence? What functions did the Mughal tomb garden
have at the time of the Taj Mahal was built? Interpretation: What purpose(s) did
the Taj Mahal have originally? How are we to interpret the meaning of the
complex and its decoration, including florals, inscriptions, and other types of
decoration? What is the significance of the garden in Mughal imperial culture? Use
appropriate Islamic vocabulary terms and incorporate ideas from your required
readings to support your essay. You must use the following required reading by
Ruggles as one of your readings for this essay: Textbook: Ruggles, D. Fairchild.
Islamic Gardens and Landscapes. Philadelphia, c. 2008. Chapter 10, “A Garden in
Landscape: the Taj Mahal and its Precursors.”
ESSAY B: The Safavid imperial palace complex and gardens in Isfahan, Iran.
The Safavid imperial capital of Isfahan was designed to be paradise on earth.
Discuss fully the major buildings, gardens, and public spaces of the palace-city.
Address their architecture, plan, water works, landscape setting, function,
decoration, patron, and historical and cultural context. Analyze themes in the
decoration, including paintings. Interpretation: What type of plan governed the
overall design of Safavid Isfahan and how was it significant? How was the
architecture of the palace used to project a distinctive imperial image of the shah?
How does the Safavid shah’s imperial image compare to that of the Ottoman sultan
and Mughal emperor? How did the art, culture, and ceremony of the Safavid court
magnify the idea of Isfahan as paradise? Use appropriate Islamic vocabulary
terms. Discuss a minimum of three works of Islamic art or architecture we have
studied since the midterm. Incorporate ideas from your required readings to
support this essay. You must use the following required reading as one of your
readings for this essay: Gulru Necipoğlu, “Framing the Gaze in Ottoman, Safavid,
and Mughal Palaces.” Ars Orientalis, vol. 23, 1993, pp. 303–342
I will upload the writing instruction and required readings. And you also need to pick one additional reading for each essays. I will also upload the additional readings.