Mughal India and Jack Kerouac exhibitions at the British Library

-These exhibitions are now closed-

I had the chance to stop by the British Library this week and visit this season’s special exhibitions.

Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire is a rich and intriguing exhibition of artefacts from the Mughal Empire, which ruled much of south Asia in the 16th-19th centuries. The exhibition focuses on the cultural wealth of the Empire, featuring mainly manuscripts and paintings with some fine decorative objects (my favourite is the jade terrapin at the centre of the exhibition). The final section of the show, dedicated to the end of the Mughal Empire, is particularly poignant, especially the photograph of the last Emperor Bahadur Shah, taken while under arrest by British forces.

Closing soon, on 27 December, is an exhibition of Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript scroll for his famous Beat Generation novel On the Road. At almost 37 metres long, the scroll consists of sheets of paper which Kerouac taped together so he could write the book without stopping during three weeks in 1951. Although the manuscript underwent many edits before being published in 1957, a more complete version of Kerouac’s original story of his journey across America was finally published in 2007. The manuscript is accompanied by exhibits and interviews explaining the importance of Jack Kerouac and On the Road on modern literature and culture.

Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire is open until 2 April. On the Road: Jack Kerouac’s manuscript scroll closes on 27 December.

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