The founders of India's Mughal Empire were the last surviving remnants of the Timurid-Mongol ruling elite, descendants of Timur and Chingis Khan, for whom the traditions and institutions of Central Asia were universally recognized and potent symbols of cultural prowess and legitimacy. These ideas and understandings were not abandoned in the dynasty's displacement and reestablishment in India. Among them remained a distinctly Timurid understanding of the rights and roles of elite women—not only with regard to their artistic production or patronage but also, in marked contrast to their contemporaries the Ottomans and Safavids, the power offered to young, even childless, royal women and their active participation in dynastic survival and political success. In generations of Mughal rule on the Subcontinent, the comfortable cultural accommodation of independent elite women was a vital component of the Timurid cultural and social legacy, inherited and carefully maintained at the royal courts of India.

You do not currently have access to this content.