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Browse Category > Architecture > Jali
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Lattice of Divine Light in Mughal Architecture and Ornament

by Navina Najat Haidar , with contributions by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites, George Michell and Ebba Koch and photographs by Abhinav Goswami


Category: Architecture, Art, Culture, Reference


228.6 x 280 mm | 9 x 11 in
Hardcover | 272 pages
220 colour illustrations
978-93-85360-74-9 (Mapin)

Rs.2,950.00  | $65.00  | £49.00
Table of contents  |  Sample Pages  |  Reviews
Table of contents

  • Preface: Sculpting with Light
  • Contextualizing the Mughal Jali
  • Temple Jali Traditions
          George Michell
  • The Jali Tradition
    Master Craftsmanship and Patronage
           Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites

  • Floral Philosophy of the Shah Jahan Period

          Ebba Koch

  • Sacred Symbols

    Jalis of the Gujarat Sultanate

  • Celestial Geometry

    Jalis of the Northern and Central Sultanates

  • Heavenly Order

    Early Mughal Visions

  • Floral Trellis

    The Imperial Mughal Jali of Shah Jahani Architecture

  • Chini Khana

    Niches of Light and Ornamental Facades

  • Jali Mania

    The Inspiration of the Imperial Style from Rajputs to the Raj

  • Formality and Fantasy

    The Deccan Jali

  • Jali and the Modern Artist

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A jali is a perforated stone or latticed screen, with ornamental patterns that draw on the compositional rhythms of calligraphy and geometry. In the parts of Asia and the Mediterranean where solar rays are strongest and brightest is where ustads, or master artisans, were able to evolve an aesthetic language of light, giving it form and shape through stone and other materials. Jalis share a common aim to bring filtered light into enclosed spaces, while providing protection and privacy. Additionally, they shape the atmosphere of a sacred space, augment the grandeur of palaces and enhance the charm of domestic interiors.


This book explores the delicate beauty of more than two-hundred jalis across India, from fourteenth-century examples in Delhi to those designed by global contemporary artists inspired by historical styles. This expansive volume covers the temple designs of the Gujarat Sultanates, imperial symbolism and Sufi allusions in Mughal jalis, the innovations and adaptations of jalis across Rajasthan and central India and, further south, calligraphy in stone relief and pierced stone in the Deccan. 


With contributions by American art historian Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites, George Michell, an authority on South Asian architecture, and renowned art and architectural historian Ebba Koch, this lavishly illustrated publication reveals the poetry etched in these stone screens.


Navina Najat Haidar is a curator in the Department of Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She helped lead the planning of the museum’s galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia.


Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites is an American art historian, who has lived and worked in India for more than forty years. His primary focus has been the revival of traditional Indian and Islamic arts and crafts. Over the years, Crites has participated in a number of prestigious art and architectural projects ranging from Mexico to Malaysia.


George Michell, an authority on South Asian architecture, has made the study of Deccani architecture and archaeology his life’s work. He has spent over thirty years researching and cataloguing the enormous ruined city of Hampi Vijayanagara, among many other historical sites in the region.


Ebba Koch, preeminent art and architectural historian, is presently a professor at the Institute of Art History in Vienna, Austria and a senior researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Koch has spent much of her professional life studying the architecture, art, and culture of the Mughal Empire, and is considered a leading authority on Mughal architecture.


Abhinav Goswami, based in Vrindavan, is trained as an archaeologist, photographer and temple priest. For the last three decades, Goswami has dedicated himself to documenting people, places, architecture and festivals of the rich cultural region of Vraj and other parts of India.



Imprint: Mapin

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