The word maharaja (literally "great king") conjures up images of spectacle. The heyday of the maharajas began in earnest after the collapse of the Mughal empire in the early eighteenth century. The exhibition opens with this period of chaos and adventure and closes with the end of British rule in 1947, when the Indian princes' territories were incorporated into the modern states of India and Pakistan.
The show will explore the extraordinary culture of princely India, showcasing rich and varied objects that reflect different aspects of royal life. On display will be both Indian and Western works, featuring paintings, photography, textiles and dress, jewelry, jeweled objects, metalwork and furniture.
These sensational works will be explored within a broader historical context of princely life and ideals, patronage, court culture, and alliances. The Asian Art Museum is the first U.S. venue for this exhibition.