Women of the imperial zenana were essential players in the political and social life of the Mughal court. Apart from their obvious importance as royal mothers, they were indispensable advisers, rulers, investors, and patrons of art and architecture in their own right. How were these royal Mughal women, subject to a life largely unseen inside palace walls, depicted in Mughal art?
Meanwhile, in the mardana, or male areas of the palace, courtesans offered a female presence rich in musical, dance and literary talent. They enlivened many Mughal paintings. In this talk we shall explore a range of art works, some famous, others lesser known, from the period of Akbar to Shah Jahan.
Please note: The Zoom link will be shared a couple of hours before the event.
About the speaker
Dr Ursula Weekes is an independent art historian specialising in Mughal and Rajput painting, based in London. Educated at St John's College Cambridge and the Courtauld Institute of Art, she then held a Postdoctoral Commonwealth Fellowship in New Delhi, where she lived for six years. During that time she also taught as Visiting Faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Since moving back to London, she has been for seven years Associate Lecturer in Mughal Painting at the Courtauld Institute of Art, as well as teaching for the V&A Academy, the London Art History Society, and Guildford High School and leading tours to India for Andante Travel. She is currently writing a book on Mughal Court Painting in India for Reaktion Books Ltd.