India’s rich history of emperor after emperor has had a great impact on our architecture, culture, traditions, music, and more. From the Mauryas and Guptas to the Cholas, Chalukyas, Lodhis and more, great empires presided over this country, with blood spilled to protect it—and even more to conquer it. While the legacy of these dynasties can be seen in historical monuments, cultural evolution and more, documents from the time are even more insightful records.
The Mughals, who claimed to be descendants of both the 14th century Turkish warlord Tīmūr and the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, have a fascinating timeline in India. Their genealogy, amongst other pieces of their history, is recorded in works such as Mu‘izz al-ansāb, meaning ‘Glorifier of Pedigrees’. This document, whose author is unknown, was compiled in Persian in Herat, Afghanistan at the court of Timurid Shāh Rukh, and was formerly owned by archaeologist and art collector Hagop Kevorkian. Today, it stands as a complete manuscript in the British Library, which acquired it through auction a few years ago.
Beginning from Tīmūr himself, right up to the last nominal Mughal ruler of Delhi, Bahadur Shah, who was deposed in 1857, these illustrations capture the complete genealogy of the Mughal dynasty in India. Further, with English notes added in the manuscript, this document provides additional information on some of the emperors mentioned. Scroll on for a look at a few of these regal portraits showcasing the Mughal dynasty, and read more about the entire manuscript here.