The greatest monument to love, and the lost world of the Agra gardens and their characterful owners, re-created through superb scholarship and evocative illustrations.
The Taj Mahal is the epitome of Mughal art and one of the most famous buildings in the world. Yet there have been few serious studies of it and no full analysis of its architecture and meaning.Ebba Koch is the only scholar who has been permitted to take measurements of the complex. She has been working on the palaces and gardens of Shah Jahan for thirty years and on the Taj Mahal itself—the tomb of the emperor's wife, Mumtaz Mahal—for a decade.
The tomb represents the house of the queen in Paradise, and the author shows how its setting was based on the palace gardens of the great nobles that lined both sides of the river at Agra. She leads the reader through the entire complex of the Taj Mahal, with an explanation of each building and an account of the mausoleum's urban setting, its design and construction, its symbolic meaning, and its history up to the present day.
The book features hundreds of new photographs plus drawings by the Indian architect Richard Barraud that include plans and reconstructions of Agra and the Taj complex as they looked in Shah Jahan's time.
Agra the Extraordinary
By R. D. McChesney - March 16, 2007
A superlative volume showing in detail and with historic drawings, maps, and photos, as well modern illustrations and reconstructions the unsurpassed achievements of the Mughal in residential garden architecture. The riverbanks of the Yamuna River as it passes through Agra was where this artistic impulse achieved culmination in the seventeenth century garden residences and tombs sponsored by the nobles and rulers of the Mughal state and built by the craftsmen of India. One of the signal contributions of this book is the inclusion of the stories of the architects, carpenters, and masons who left their signatures and marks on the individual elements of the overall project. The residential and tomb gardens which stretched along the river and are now mostly gone gave way at midpoint to the grandest residence of all, the Red Fort which remains today the second greatest landmark of Agra. And at the southern end of the development stands today the greatest tomb ever built, one of the... read more
A Ten-Star Book that Is Without Parallel
By B. Evans - April 14, 2007
Having read a number of books about the Taj Mahal, including the recently published one by the Prestons, I would bet good money that if given a copy of Ebba Koch's book to preview, those truly interested in India's national treasure will buy THE COMPLETE TAJ MAHAL, even if they have to skip lattes or lunches to afford it, even if they have already done so to afford Okada/Joshi/Nou's Taj Mahal with its stunning photography.
One reason, of course, is that TCTM is so complete. To others' overviews of the material covered, I would add only that Koch does not neglect the human element. For example, in eight introductory pages of text, she provides excellent background information about Shah Jahan, his wife and his predecessors; later, she details Jahan's passion for building. Koch also includes interesting information about the artisans, craftsmen and laborers who did the actual work as well as details... read more
By J. Brickman - September 26, 2007
Having visited the Taj Mahal, I wanted to have an authoritative book on the history behind its construction and this book is not only an excellent souce, but also a very good photographic record of this amazing Wonder of the World!
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