The art and architecture heritage of the period of the Mysore Sultans: Haider Ali (1721-1782) and his son Tipu Sultan (1750-1799), has probably been overshadowed by the turbulent political history of the times. Even if a lot, real lot has been written on their reign, their times, and the wars they fought to counter the rising power of the British, this book is the first ever to comprehensively study their various art forms and architecture. It, thus, tries to bridge the gap between art and history.
Painstakingly marshalling an astonishing range of sources, including the hitherto-unknown archival records, contemporary Persian and English writings, manuscripts, and inscriptions, the authors have put together a certainly remarkable book, interpreting history through art. It offers a meticulously detailed study of the architectural heritage of Mysore Sultans, focusing on their palaces, forts, mosques, and mausoleums, located at Srirangapatna, Bangalore, and in the peripheral areas of Bangalore (in the present-day Karnataka State, south India). Further, unveiling the murals of the Sultans’ palaces, the authors move on to scientifically examine the materials and techniques of the wall paintings. Significantly, this fascinating account of the art and architecture of the Mysore Sultans is not merely descriptive, but also aesthetically analytical -- which has been attempted in the background of traditional Islamic aesthetics. With the inclusion of over 300 exquisite photographs, line drawings, plans, and topographic surveys, the book turns out to be not just an invaluable work on art history, but a singular work on history itself.
Dr Anupa Pande is Professor and Head, Department of History of Art and Dean, National Museum Institute, New Delhi – where the co-author, Savita Kumari is currently Assistant Professor.