Introduction to Indo-Islamic Art and Architecture
This short series will provide an introduction to facets of artistic production in the Indian sub-continent under the patronage of several Muslim courts that ruled variously in different regions between 13th and 18th century CE. It will explore many aesthetical and typological themes observed in the major art forms such as architecture, the art of the book and the crafts to trace common principles as well as sheer diversity of expression. The lectures will also analyse the influences that shaped Indo-Islamic art in creating an artistic confluence having a significant impact on contemporary and later painting and architecture in India.
The lectures are not intended as chronological lessons in art history but rather will have a thematic approach to unravel the delightful visual language of Indo-Islamic art and its aesthetics.
Instuctor: Dr. Smita Dalvi
Topics to be covered:
1. Two Aesthetic Themes: Ornamentation and Idea of Paradise
The lecture will explore two ubiquitous aesthetic themes, abstract ornamentation and an idea of paradise, both prevading all forms of Islamic Art.
2. Plants, Animals, Humans, Kings and Gods
This lecture will outline several themes such as depiction of the natural and super-natural world, kingly pursuits or mythological tales. The lecture will be illustrated mainly with several examples from narrative paintings of different courtly ateliers.
3. Mosques and Mausoleums
The lecture will trace the development of two religious building types: mosques and tombs, giving a glimpse of diversity of forms, material and techniques observed in the Indian sub-continent.
4. Palaces and Retreats
The lecture will highlight a few important examples of royal residences and palaces bulit under the patronage of Muslim kings in medieval India.
5. Syncretism, Hybridity and Legacy
The lecture will explore a few case studies to highlight the influences that shaped Indo-Islamic art and architecture in creating an artistic confluence having a significant impact on contemporary and later painting and architecture.
About the Instructor:
Smita Dalvi teaches architecture and aesthetics in Navi Mumbai and Mumbai. She is a Professor at MES Pillai College of Architecture and the editor of Tekton – a scholarly journal of architecture published biannually. She has a PhD in Visual Communication from IITBombay. She is a co-author of ‘Panvel: Great City, Fading Heritage’ (2020) (In English and Marathi). Her areas of research are architecture as cultural and social history where she explores inter-sections in art, architecture and society. She has published several essays on the cultural significance of community built religious architecture in the Konkan and the Malabar.
Her area of special interest is in Indo-Islamic Art and Architecture, and on this she has
delivered several guest lectures in India and abroad. She has been a resource person for Diploma in India Aesthetics at the Mumbai University and JnanaPravaha Mumbai. She is a recipient of the fellowship of ‘Fulbright Visiting Specialist: Direct Access to the Muslim world’ – as a part of this fellowship in 2007, she taught modules on Indo-Islamic art in four universities in America’s mid-west and also made presentations to school children and community groups.