In the 17th century, both banks of the Yamuna River in Agra were lined with mansions, palatial gardens, and tombs, one of the great sights of Mughal India. When his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal died, Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the most splendid addition to the riverside –the “Illumined Tomb” or Taj Mahal. A French traveller claimed that Shah Jahan had begun to build his own tomb on the opposite bank of the river, giving rise to the idea of a black marble ‘Taj’. Instead, archaeological findings reveal Shah Jahan’s grand plan, a fragrant Mehtab Bagh, or Moonlight Garden. Here on a moonlit night, the emperor could wonder at two views of the Taj Mahal - the ultimate romance! Start your weekend transported to Agra, moonlight, and flowers.
About the Speaker
After her Master’s from Northwestern University, Pia worked in advertising and marketing at JWT, Ogilvy and Unilever in Chicago, London, Mumbai, and Bangalore. In Singapore, she discovered ancient communications at the ACM, being a Friends of the Museums (FOM) docent since 2006 and co-head of the 2006-07 docent training. Since then, Pia has given several lectures, including for FOM’s ACM docent training, Museum Volunteers group, Monday Morning Lectures, Friday with Friends lectures, Indus International in Mumbai and Smith College alumni. In 2018, she completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London with high distinctions in Islamic, Indian and Buddhist art. The Mughals have been an area of special interest. In 2010, Pia led FOM’s special exhibition research group for ACM’s ‘Treasury of the World, Jewelled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals’, she lectures on the Mughals for the ACM’s Court and Company gallery during docent training, has done a Monday Morning Lecture on ‘Love and Intrigue at the Mughal Court’ and has written an essay on Jahangir’s impact on Mughal painting at SOAS. The complex and elegant Shah Jahan remains her favourite Mughal!
This lecture is free. Slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Image: "Shah Jahan on a Terrace, Holding a Pendant Set With His Portrait", Folio from the Shah Jahan Album (detail). Painted by Chitarman (ca. 1627–70). Attributed to India, recto: dated 1627–28; verso: ca. 1530–50. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955, 18.104.22.168.
Organised by the Friends of the Museums (FOM) with support from ACM