Approaching diplomatic and courtly gift-giving in Europe and Mughal India. Shared practices and cultural diversity

Siebenhüner, Kim (2014). Approaching diplomatic and courtly gift-giving in Europe and Mughal India. Shared practices and cultural diversity. The Medieval history journal, 16(2), pp. 525-546. Sage

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This article deals with courtly gift-giving practices in Europe and Mughal India from a comparative and interwoven perspective. Given the historiographical lacunae on Mughal gift-giving, the article presents preliminary observations for further research. Unlike most contributions to this volume, this article understands the notion of diversity in terms of an intercultural diversity that came to the fore in courtly contexts and in diplomatic encounters. My arguments are bifold. On the one hand, European and Mughal rulers and their envoys shared a common ground of diplomatic gift-giving practices that were shaped by an understanding of what was worthy of giving and of the symbolic power of the given objects. On the other hand, courtly gift-giving practices were embedded in different social and cultural environments in Europe and India. By looking at the notion of the ‘gift’ and the social organisation of the Mughal elite, it becomes clear that pīshkash was an idiosyncratic concept in South and Central Asian contexts and that offerings of manṣabdārs to the Mughal emperor had a different character than those of European courtiers to their rulers.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Recent History

UniBE Contributor:

Siebenhüner, Kim

Subjects:

900 History
900 History > 940 History of Europe
900 History > 950 History of Asia

ISSN:

0971-9458

Publisher:

Sage

Language:

English

Submitter:

Claudia Ravazzolo

Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2014 15:58

Last Modified:

09 May 2016 12:16

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/50661

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