Picturesque Views
Mughal India in 19th Century Photography

09.11.2007 to 30.03.2008

Museum für Asiatische Kunst

The Museum of Asian Art is the first in Germany to present a comprehensive survey of masterpieces of early photography in India from the pioneering age of photography. From the 1850s, European photographers commissioned by the East India Company compiled a substantial collection of photographic material. In this way, the British colonial power achieved a meticulous topographic and ethnographic documentation of the subcontinent. Several of the photographers working in India not only developed a very individual style, but also showed a great interest in the artistic potential of the new medium. Special attention was devoted to the Indo-Islamic architecture of the Mughal Empire. The legendary mausoleum Taj Mahal and its gardens were among the favourite motifs. Especially ambitious photographers succeeded in capturing such typically Indian monuments and their ample gardens in atmospheric 'photo paintings'.