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University of Colorado at Boulder

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

India: National Identity and the Arts


Delhi possesses much of India's finest architecture; it is the heart of Hindustan and holds an immense amount of power as the heart of Hindustan and a vital city during the Mughal Empire. The Mughal period in India was one of the most prolific and dynamic phases of architecture in India, characterized by a remarkable refinement of spatial symmetry and a classic attention to detailing. Contextual knowledge of the city of Delhi and who the Mughals were as rulers and patrons of the arts offers insight into the specific function of architecture in India between 1526 and 1858 AD. Architecture plays a crucial role in the success of the Mughal dynasty in Delhi as it provided the empire a means through which to assert power over the people and transcend time as rulers. The physical manifestation of power is monumentality, which is generated directly from the strength and character of the architectural form. Mughal architecture exhibits strength not only in its physical forms, but also in its range of uses from entirely public to extremely private. Case studies of Humayun's Tomb, the Jama Masjid in Delhi, and the Delhi Red Fort offer insight into the specific function of architecture during the Mughal Empire. The expression of power in these specific case studies is understood through their size and visibility, building materials, and organization of space.


Architectural History and Criticism

Related Files Expression of Power_2.pdf (389 kB)
Part 2

Expression of Power_3.pdf (2228 kB)
Part 3


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