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Mika Natif

“Mughal Women in Gardens: Patrons, Users, and Designer”

Mika Natif

The George Washington University, Garden and Landscape Studies Fellow, Spring Term

Natif’s project is the basis for a chapter in her new book on Mughal women as patrons, artists, and subject matter (1556–1658). The chapter discusses the extent of female activities related to Mughal horticulture. In the seventeenth century, Mughal women became the leading patrons of gardens and garden design. These activities widened the scope of their social influence and gave them direct access to partake in the political and economic life of the empire. Drawing on architecture, landscape design, historical sources, and most significantly, Mughal painting, this inquiry allows for a fuller account of gender and gardens than has been studied to date.

Mika Natif is associate professor of art history at the George Washington University. She specializes in Mughal manuscripts and painting, exploring the transcultural connections and global exchanges that the Mughals fostered with other artistic traditions. Her recent work focuses on gender, sexuality, and the role of women in Mughal art. She is the author of Mughal Occidentalism: Artistic Encounters Between Europe and Asia at the Courts of India, 1580–1630 (2018), and, with Francesca Leoni, Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art (2013).