Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Dina Bangdel


Paintings of women as individual subjects were a popular theme in the Mughal court during the mid-seventeenth century, or the Shah Jahan period (ca. 1628-1658). These portraits depict idealized archetypes with subtle differences in facial and bodily features. The same portrait conventions were used for both historical and imaginary women. This thesis has three aims: (1) identify and explain the significance of three elements that visually represent an ideal Mughal woman using a case study from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts called Page from the Nasir al-Din Shah Album: Portrait of a Mughal Woman (ca. 1630-45), (2) combine visual and textual sources to further the study of Mughal women, and (3) reinsert the portraits of Mughal women within a larger scope of female imagery in Indian art to show that Mughal paintings encompass just one part of a much bigger story. Paintings of Mughal women are not only aesthetic works of art—they are historical artifacts.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

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