Event—Scholarly Seminars

Yuthika Sharma, Northwestern University


The Delhi Fort from Muraqqa to Map: Court Artists and Jesuit Mapmakers at the Crossroads of Late Mughal Art

Yuthika Sharma

The Delhi Fort from Muraqqa to Map: Court Artists and Jesuit Mapmakers at the Crossroads of Late Mughal Art

Yuthika Sharma, Northwestern University

This paper examines the shifting nature of artistic practice across the genres of muraqqa (album) painting and mapmaking in Late Mughal India in the backdrop of Mughal-Jesuit interactions in the eighteenth century. The paper suggests that an increasing concern with diminishing Mughal imperial power fueled a growing artistic focus on re-imagining the city as a seat of empire, and the palace-fortress as a repository of ritual, cosmographic, religious, and performative Mughal sovereignty. It focuses on the court painter Nidha Mal (fl. 1725-1775), and his creation of an imperial city-map of the Red Fort at Delhi, a radical move away from painting courtly themes. Placing the map within older genealogies of city descriptions and surveys, the paper highlights its morphology emerging out of Mughal and Jesuit intellectual exchange. It draws attention to the role of the Austrian Jesuit geographer Joseph Tieffenthaler (1710-1785), his engagement with the Mughal court, and his maps co-produced with local artists and draftsmen. This cartographic experimentation at Delhi, the paper suggests, while charging the European imagination of Delhi as Mughal bastion, also recast the visual culture of the Late Mughal empire into the nineteenth century.


This event is free, but all participants must register in advance. Space is limited, so please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.

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About the Eighteen-Century Seminar

The Eighteenth-Century Seminar is designed to foster research and inquiry across the scholarly disciplines in eighteenth-century studies. It aims to provide a methodologically diverse forum for work that engages ongoing discussions and debates along this historical and critical terrain. Each year the seminar sponsors one public lecture followed by questions and discussion, and two works-in-progress sessions featuring pre-circulated papers.

The seminar is organized by Timothy Campbell (University of Chicago), Lisa A. Freeman (University of Illinois at Chicago), Jason Farr (Marquette University), and Alicia Caticha (Northwestern University).


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