"Celestial Mirror" by Barry Perlus

Celestial Mirror The Astronomical Observatories of Jai Singh II Barry Perlus

Publication date:
23 Jun 2020
Yale University Press
168 pages: 229 x 270mm
163 color illus.
Sales territories:

Between 1724 and 1730, Maharajah Sawaii Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five astronomical observatories, called Jantar Mantars, in northern India. The four remaining observatories are an extraordinary fusion of architecture and science, combining elements of astronomy, astrology, and geometry into forms of remarkable beauty. The observatories’ large scale and striking geometric forms have captivated the attention of architects, artists, scientists, and historians worldwide, yet their purpose and use remain largely unknown to the public.
In this book, Barry Perlus’s visually driven exploration brings readers to the Jantar Mantars and creates an immersive experience. Panoramas plunge the viewer into a breathtaking 360-degree space, while pages of explanatory illustrations describe the observatories and the workings of their many instruments. This book provides the experience of visiting the sites, learning about the historical context of the Jantar Mantars, and gaining an understanding of their scientific and architectural innovations.

Barry Perlus is associate professor of art in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University. He has taught courses in photography since 1984 and received support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts for his creative work.

“I cannot imagine what an alien landing next to these mysterious observatories, the Jantar Mantars, would think! Thankfully we have Perlus’s beautiful book, which allows us to see and understand the cross-cultural breadth of astronomy.”—Anthony Aveni, author of Star Stories: Constellations and People