The Taj Mahal

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Overview

Giles Tillotson recounts the human drama behind the Taj Mahal, particularly the relationship between Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who lie there. He explores its reputation through history as a Wonder of the World and its representation in art, and analyses the secrets of its architectural success. He concludes with the troubled story of its conservation, first by Lord Curzon, and records recent disputes about its ownership, treatment and exploitation. But, whatever else, there is no doubt that ...
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Overview

Giles Tillotson recounts the human drama behind the Taj Mahal, particularly the relationship between Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who lie there. He explores its reputation through history as a Wonder of the World and its representation in art, and analyses the secrets of its architectural success. He concludes with the troubled story of its conservation, first by Lord Curzon, and records recent disputes about its ownership, treatment and exploitation. But, whatever else, there is no doubt that the Taj holds a secure place in the world's collective consciousness.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Sunday Times
For all its fame, remarkably little has been written on the Taj Majal, and Giles Tillotson's slim and balanced book is, without question, the best short introduction yet produced...This is a much-needed and eminently readable book that is likely to remain a standard work for many years to come.
— William Dalrymple
The Independent
[Tillotson's] accessible and enjoyable style will engage a broader readership. Like every author in [Harvard's] "Wonders of the World" series, Tillotson considers not only architectural history but also cultural heritage and resonance--picturesque 18th-century aquatints of the Taj, early 20th-century restorations by Lord Curzon, literary responses such as Rabindranath Tagore's poem ("a teardrop on the cheek of time"), and the famous photo of Princess Diana posing alone in front of the "monument to love" shortly before her marriage break-up...Tillotson airs the many myths and legends with relish; then slays most of them with facts and reason, and a generous helping of illustrations.
— Andrew Robinson
Daily Telegraph
The Taj Mahal is one of the most instantly recognizable buildings in the world, endlessly painted and photographed, and currently welcoming an average of 8,000 visitors a day. Giles Tillotson's sprightly account of its structure and history, the stories that have accumulated around it and the impression it has made on tourists down the centuries is a welcome addition to [Harvard's] "Wonders of the World" series. These books are not only architectural monographs; they are equally concerned with what buildings mean, and few structures have meant more different things to people than the Taj Mahal...Witty and authoritative, this book achieves the remarkable feat of making us look again at a building we might otherwise think altogether too familiar.
— Peter Parker
Sunil Khilnani
This wry, brisk book is a delightful and fascinating excavation of the Taj Mahal's many layers of meanings. Giles Tillotson deploys his formidable knowledge of India's artistic and cultural history to create a kaleidoscopic interpretation of the Taj...[he] unravels the fables and myths incited by this sublime creation, and yet succeeds in keeping its unworldly aura intact.
Sunday Times - William Dalrymple
For all its fame, remarkably little has been written on the Taj Majal, and Giles Tillotson's slim and balanced book is, without question, the best short introduction yet produced...This is a much-needed and eminently readable book that is likely to remain a standard work for many years to come.
The Independent - Andrew Robinson
[Tillotson's] accessible and enjoyable style will engage a broader readership. Like every author in [Harvard's] "Wonders of the World" series, Tillotson considers not only architectural history but also cultural heritage and resonance--picturesque 18th-century aquatints of the Taj, early 20th-century restorations by Lord Curzon, literary responses such as Rabindranath Tagore's poem ("a teardrop on the cheek of time"), and the famous photo of Princess Diana posing alone in front of the "monument to love" shortly before her marriage break-up...Tillotson airs the many myths and legends with relish; then slays most of them with facts and reason, and a generous helping of illustrations.
Daily Telegraph - Peter Parker
The Taj Mahal is one of the most instantly recognizable buildings in the world, endlessly painted and photographed, and currently welcoming an average of 8,000 visitors a day. Giles Tillotson's sprightly account of its structure and history, the stories that have accumulated around it and the impression it has made on tourists down the centuries is a welcome addition to [Harvard's] "Wonders of the World" series. These books are not only architectural monographs; they are equally concerned with what buildings mean, and few structures have meant more different things to people than the Taj Mahal...Witty and authoritative, this book achieves the remarkable feat of making us look again at a building we might otherwise think altogether too familiar.
Sunday Times

For all its fame, remarkably little has been written on the Taj Majal, and Giles Tillotson's slim and balanced book is, without question, the best short introduction yet produced...This is a much-needed and eminently readable book that is likely to remain a standard work for many years to come.
— William Dalrymple

The Independent

[Tillotson's] accessible and enjoyable style will engage a broader readership. Like every author in [Harvard's] "Wonders of the World" series, Tillotson considers not only architectural history but also cultural heritage and resonance—picturesque 18th-century aquatints of the Taj, early 20th-century restorations by Lord Curzon, literary responses such as Rabindranath Tagore's poem ("a teardrop on the cheek of time"), and the famous photo of Princess Diana posing alone in front of the "monument to love" shortly before her marriage break-up...Tillotson airs the many myths and legends with relish; then slays most of them with facts and reason, and a generous helping of illustrations.
— Andrew Robinson

Daily Telegraph

The Taj Mahal is one of the most instantly recognizable buildings in the world, endlessly painted and photographed, and currently welcoming an average of 8,000 visitors a day. Giles Tillotson's sprightly account of its structure and history, the stories that have accumulated around it and the impression it has made on tourists down the centuries is a welcome addition to [Harvard's] "Wonders of the World" series. These books are not only architectural monographs; they are equally concerned with what buildings mean, and few structures have meant more different things to people than the Taj Mahal...Witty and authoritative, this book achieves the remarkable feat of making us look again at a building we might otherwise think altogether too familiar.
— Peter Parker

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674031869
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2008
  • Series: Wonders of the World Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 4.74 (w) x 7.26 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Giles Tillotson is an art historian specializing in South Asia and the author of many books including Jaipur Nama: Tales from the Pink City.
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Table of Contents

Introduction Orientation 1

Ch. 1 The Players 16

Ch. 2 The Design 45

Ch. 3 Everybody's Taj 85

Ch. 4 How to Make Your Own 116

Ch. 5 To Have and to Hold 149

Making a Visit? 173

Further Reading 178

List of Illustrations 188

Index 191

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    I am a highschool sophomore and I had to read this book for a re

    I am a highschool sophomore and I had to read this book for a reasearch project. In my honest opinion I found
    this book interesting. Although this book helped me answer some of the questions in my research project, there 
    is a lot of unnecessary information about the different myths behind the building of the Taj Mahal. However,
    Giles Tillotson revealed the different meanings of the monument itself. He explains that the Taj Mahal is not only a 
    symbol of love but a symbol of stability and pride for India. I didn't enjoy the extra information at the end of the book when
    he writes about the Bollywood movie that was made about two con artists. Giles includes the history and the depth behind the design of the Taj Mahal. Most importantly, he reveals the remarkable love story between Shah Jahan and his beloved second wife Mumtaz Mahal. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    I am a highschool sophomore and I had to read this book for a re

    I am a highschool sophomore and I had to read this book for a reasearch project. In my honest opinion I found this book interesting. Although this book helped me answer some of the questions in my research project, there is a lot of unnecessary information about the different myths behind the building of the Taj Mahal. However, Giles Tillotson revealed the different meanings of the monument itself. He explains that the Taj Mahal is not only a symbol of love but a symbol of stability and pride for India. I didn't enjoy the extra information at the end of the book when he writes about the Bollywood movie that was made about two con artists. Giles includes the history and the depth behind the design of the Taj Mahal. Most importantly, he reveals the remarkable love story between Shah Jahan and his beloved second wife Mumtaz Mahal.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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