Garden and Landscape Practices in Medieval India: Histories from the Deccan
Ed. Daud Ali and Emma Flatt. Delhi: Routledge, 2011.
This book presents a set of new and innovative essays on landscape and garden culture in precolonial India, with a special focus on the Deccan. Most research to date has concentrated on the comparatively well preserved gardens and built landscapes of the celebrated Mughal empire, giving the impression that they have been lacking in other times and regions. Not only does this volume provide a corrective to such assumptions, it also moves away from traditional art-historical approaches by posing new questions and exploring hitherto neglected source materials.
The contributors understand gardens in two related ways: first as real or imagined spaces and manipulated landscapes that are often invested with pronounced semiotic density; and second as congeries of institutions and practices with far-reaching social ramifications for the constitution of elite societies. The essays here present a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of garden culture in precolonial India, and together suggest several new and exciting directions of inquiry for those working in the Deccan, Mughal India, and beyond.