5 Must-Have South Asian Coffee Table Books for Your Living Room

When it comes to modern South Asian home decor, coffee table books play a crucial role in adding a touch of elegance and cultural richness to your living room. Here are 5 must-have South Asian coffee table books that will not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your space but also offer a glimpse into the art, history, and traditions of the region.

1. Tarun Tahiliani: Journey to India Modern


For almost three decades, Tarun Tahiliani has galvanized Indian fashion. His vision and its translation into garments have reintroduced India to her own rich sartorial history and legacy. Journey to India Modern celebrates Tahiliani’s contribution not simply through bewitching clothing but also through a question that he aims to answer through his ensembles: Can the past and present be merged for the global contemporary society?

The book charts its way through the very first fashion photo shoot when there were limited expressions of fashion in India to the modern day. While garments and design retain the focus, the essays also illustrate the way Tahiliani explored and crystallized a vision of India—from road trips during the heydays of socialism to his arrival as a leading couturier to the most celebrated women and men in Indian society.

2. Beyond Extravagance (set of 2) - A Royal Collection of Gems and Jewels

Exploring the centuries-long tradition of fine jewelry and art objects in India, to contemporary interpretations that continue to evolve today, this spectacular volume has been expanded and updated to highlight over 400 items in this magnificent collection. Key pieces include the carved jade wine cup of Emperor Jahangir, the Shah Jahan Dagger; inscribed imperial spinels belonging to emperors Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan; the Arcot II diamond and the Taj Mahal Emerald; and a ruby and pearl choker made by Cartier for the Maharaja of Patiala.

3. The Mughal Feast: Recipes From The Kitchen Of Emperor Shah Jahan


The Mughal Feast is a delightful translation of the original handwritten Persian recipe book Nuskha-e-Shahjahani from the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s time. A culinary journey into the Mughal imperial kitchen, where food was cooked with just the right amount of spices to enhance the base flavours of the dishes, this book is divided into seven sections and includes a plethora of recipes, ranging from the familiar shami kabab and baqlawa to the more exotic amba pulao (tangy mango lamb rice) and indersa (sweet, deep-fried rice-flour balls). The book also provides helpful tips for cooking, including methods to clean fish and soften bones, throwing light on the creativity of the Mughal cooks.

An informative introduction offers an intriguing glimpse into the royal lifestyle of one of India’s greatest empires. This book effortlessly recaptures the nostalgia of Mughal times while remaining a practical guide for the modern reader.

4. Sikh Art


This volume brings together leading scholars of Sikhism and of Sikh art to assess and interpret the remarkable art resource known as the Kapany Collection. Fifteen renowned scholars contributed essays describing the passion and vision of Narinder and Satinder Kapany in building this unparalleled assemblage of great Sikh art.

5. Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage

Since the advent of Islam, Hajj has been one of the most remarkable religious gatherings in the world. A compulsory act for Muslims, if they are able, the annual observance of Hajj has always had a great impact on the Muslim world, and for centuries pilgrims and rulers alike have held a deep love for the Holy Sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina. Yet until recently this ritual has remained largely unfamiliar to the Western world. Discover the artistic legacy of pilgrimage through this enlightening book that explores the visual culture surrounding Hajj, offering a unique perspective on religious devotion and artistic expression.

These coffee table books not only serve as decorative elements but also serve as conversation starters, inviting guests to explore and appreciate the diverse cultural tapestry woven throughout South Asia. Add these titles to your collection for a touch of sophistication and cultural depth in your modern South Asian-inspired living space.

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