The history of Islamic India goes back three centuries before the Mughal era (1526 - 1828). A variety of Muslim dynasties had ruled in northern India, bringing mainly Persian influences to the subcontinent.
With the arrival of Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire, the stage was set for the most brilliant flowering of Islamic art in India. The ruling family was of Turkic and Mongol descent, and its most lasting contribution was a synthesis of Central Asian culture with that of India.
The India Gallery provides a glimpse into the public and private worlds of the Mughals. Many features of Mughal art diverge from the Islamic mainstream. The most obvious of these is in portraiture. As well as revelling in figural representations, this dynasty pioneered a new approach to detail. The enduring fascination with these miniature paintings is partly due to their elegance. Miniatures from this era are filled with images of rulers, courtiers and horses, along with useful vignettes of fashion and interior design.