The word “maharaja” — literally “great king” — conjures up a vision of splendor and magnificence: ropes of pearls, huge diamonds, jeweled turbans, elaborately carved furniture, shimmering textiles in every imaginable color. This lavishly illustrated book, published to accompany a major exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, examines the real and perceived worlds of the maharaja from the early eighteenth century to 1947, when the Indian Princes ceded their territories into the modern states of India and Pakistan.
The book explores the spectacular material culture of India’s rulers, showcasing rich and varied objects that reflect different aspects of royal life. Paintings, photographs, textiles and dress, jewelry, jeweled objects, metalwork, and furniture— Indian objects as well as pieces imported to India from the West — are considered within a broader historical context, exploring royal status and identity, court culture and patronage.
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