From Islamic sculpture to contemporary Delhi: A visual history of Buraq, the Quran’s winged horse by Yasmine Seale from Scroll.In

The many representations of the enigmatic steed that carried Prophet Muhammad on his night journey to heaven.

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More: http://scroll.in/article/817896/from-islamic-sculpture-to-contemporary-delhi-a-visual-history-of-buraq-the-qurans-winged-horse

Nasir Shah’s Book of Delights from the British Library Blog

To celebrate our new series of South Asian seminars and especially the focus on food with Neha Vermani’s talk this evening Mughals on the menu: A probe into the culinary world of the Mughal eliteI thought I would write about our most ʻfoodyʼ Persian manuscript, the only surviving copy of the Niʻmatnāmah-i Nāṣirshāhī (Nasir Shah’s Book of Delights) written for Sultan Ghiyas al-Din Khilji (r.1469-1500) and completed by his son Nasir al-Din Shah (r.1500-1510). We are planning to digitise this manuscript in the near future but meanwhile I hope some of these recipes will whet your appetite.

 

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More: http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2016/11/nasir-shahs-book-of-delights.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+asian-and-african+%28Asia+and+Africa%29

The Gazi Scroll of West Bengal

Painted on paper, mounted on cotton, scrolls such as these were used as visual props in storytelling performances in India approximately around 1800 AD.

Handprinted in Murshidabad, this scroll is around 13 meters in length, with 54 frames which narrate the story of Gazi and Manik – two Muslim saints or pirs. 

Patua scroll artists use natural colours borrowed from leaves and fruits to create art work.

More: https://theheritagelab.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/the-gazi-scroll-of-west-bengal/

Jainism in the early 19th Century: Drawings from the Mackenzie Collection by Jennifer Howes, Independent Art Historian from The British Library Blog

The British Library holds over a thousand Jain manuscripts, most of which were collected in the 19thCentury, by Indologists and East India Company officials. In a recent blog, Pasquale Manzo, the British Library’s Sanskrit curator, gives an overview of these manuscripts, and news that 33 of them have been digitised.

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One of the collectors mentioned in this previous blog is Colin Mackenzie, the first Surveyor General of India. There are 21 Jain manuscripts, 18 of which are palm leaf manuscripts from Karnataka’s Digambara tradition, in the British Library’s Mackenzie Collection.

More: http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2016/07/jainism-in-the-early-19th-century.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+asian-and-african+%28Asia+and+Africa%29

 

The Sixteen Sacred Lands of Buddhism, San San May, Curator for Burmese, British Library

Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was brought up to become a king, but he left his life of great comfort after encountering the ‘four signs’: an old man, a sick man, a corpse, and an ascetic. After six years of hardship, working to find the right spiritual path, he attained his ‘Great Enlightenment’, and became the Buddha. During the following forty-five years of his mission until he passed into Mahaparinirvana (the state of reaching the end of suffering) at the age of eighty, the Buddha walked widely throughout the northern districts of India, delivering his teachings to thebhikkhus (Buddhist monks) and laity in the places that he visited. The sixteen lands where he spent time during his long ministry can be found illustrated in many Burmese Buddhist cosmology manuscripts.

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Shown below is a depiction of the sixteen sacred lands in a Burmese folding-book paper manuscript. The Buddha is seated in Bhumisparsa mudra (earth-touching posture) on a throne under the Bodhi tree at the centre. Around him are depicted the sixteen lands, with indications of the distances between the centre and each of these regions, varying from one day to two months of travel. The sixteen lands are labelled (clockwise from the top) Mithila, Sankassa, Jetuttara, Takkasila, Savatti, Kosambi, Kalinga, Mudu, Koliya, Kapilavastu, Campa, Varanasi, Rajagaha, Vesali, Pataliputta, and Pava.

More: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2016/07/the-sixteen-sacred-lands-of-buddhism.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+asian-and-african+%28Asia+and+Africa%29

Revisiting the provenance of the Sindbadnamah, by Ursula Sims-Williams, Asian and African Studies, British Library Blog

While recently looking for documentation on the Library of Tipu Sultan, Sultan of Mysore (r. 1782-1799), my eye fell on this entry in Charles Stewart’s Descriptive Catalogue of the Oriental Library of the late Tippoo Sultan of Mysore (Cambridge, 1809), pp. 72-3:

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XCIV. Diwāni Sindbād Hakīm. Thick quarto, common hand, ornamented with pictures, &c. The instructions of the philosopher Sindbād to his pupil, the ignorant son of a king; in a series of interesting and facetious stories. The author is unknown; but it is dedicated to Shāh Mahmūd Bahmeny of the Dekhan, A.D. 1374.

More: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2016/06/revisiting-the-provenance-of-the-sindbadnamah-io-islamic-3214.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+asian-and-african+%28Asia+and+Africa%29

 

 

Bangladesh’s Genius Architect Marina Tabassum: An architect in search of roots – inspiring, spiritual & divine – shortlisted for 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture

“… a mosque needs to be inspirational and spiritual enough to generate respect and create a divine feeling, otherwise it loses its purpose.”

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Source: Bangladesh’s Genius Architect Marina Tabassum: An architect in search of roots – inspiring, spiritual & divine – shortlisted for 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Marina's mosque

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Our Story of Dhaka Muslin, Aramco World, May/June 2016, Written by Khademul Islam

The cloth is like the light vapours of dawn.

—YUAN CHWANG,
Chinese traveler to India,
629-45 ce

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I FIRST HEARD OF MUSLINon a hot summer night in Karachi, Pakistan. It was sometime in the late 1960s. I was at the verandah table arm-wrestling with my school homework. My father was at the other end drinking tea. I can’t recall now how the subject came up, but I probably asked him something about the British colonial times. It was a topic on which he held forth occasionally. He must have answered me, for he always did. Then—and from here on my recollection is clear—he said, “Muslin.” Not knowing what muslin was, I looked at him questioningly. “Our muslin. The British destroyed it.”

“What’s muslin?”

Muslin, he said, was the name of a legendary cloth made of cotton, fit for emperors, which used to be made way back in the past. Muslin from Dacca had been the finest, he said, from where it used to be shipped to the far corners of the world.

“Dacca?” I asked, surprised.

More: http://www.aramcoworld.com/en-US/Articles/May-2016/Our-Story-of-Dhaka-Muslin

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Destination Bangladesh: art world decamps to third Dhaka Art Summit

Four-day event is billed as “the world’s largest non-commercial platform for South Asian art” by GARETH HARRIS  |  4 February 2016 – The Art NewsPaper

A key art-historical exhibition throwing new light on historic post-war works by South Asian artists forms part of the third Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh, which opens tomorrow (5-8 February). The show, entitled Rewind, features 12 artists including the late Bangladeshi practitioner Rashid Choudhury and Indian-born Monika Correa. The Indian art collector Amrita Jhaveri is sponsoring the exhibition, which is part of a programme encompassing solo art projects, group shows, panel discussions, and workshops.

More: http://theartnewspaper.com/news/news/destination-bangladesh-art-world-decamps-to-third-dhaka-art-summit/

PHOTO ESSAYS Photojournalist Steve McCurry’s Romanticised Visions of India by Carey Dunne in Hyperallergic

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American Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, best known for his 1984 photograph of an Afghan refugee with piercing green eyes (Sharbat Gula), is one of the most celebrated photojournalists of our time. His career started in 1978, after the work of Margaret Bourke-White and Henri Cartier-Bresson inspired him to take his first visit to India. This trip, on which McCurry used up 250 rolls of Kodachrome, would be the first of his more than 80 visits to the country.

More: http://hyperallergic.com/268014/photojournalist-steve-mccurrys-romanticized-visions-of-india/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Moving%20Forwards%20and%20Backwards%20in%20Time%20with%20The%20Shining&utm_content=Moving%20Forwards%20and%20Backwards%20in%20Time%20with%20The%20Shining+CID_2179cc68e832e5b66225a797d4ec6594&utm_source=HyperallergicNewsletter&utm_term=Photojournalist%20Steve%20McCurrys%20Romanticized%20Visions%20of%20India