Look Inside

Volume 50 Number 3, March 1999

Volume 50 Number 3

Mughal Flora and Fauna

From the General Editor’s Desk

Portraits of Birds and Animals under Jahangir
Som Prakash Verma

The Use of Flora and Fauna Imagery in Mughal Decorative Arts
Stephen Markel

The Elephant in Mughal Painting
Asok Kumar Das

Mythical Animals in Mughal Art: Images, Symbols, and Allusions
Philippa Vaughan 

The 14th-Century Adina Mosque in Pandua
I. Connections between the Koranic Sura of Light, Sufi Light Mysticism, and the Motif of the “Lamp within a Niche”
II. The Mihrabs in the Adina Mosque: Evidence of the Reuse of Late Pala-Sena Remains
Naseem A. Banerji

Le Corbusier: Symbolic Themes at Chandigarh
Steven W. Hurtt

Newsletters

Book Reviews

From the General Editor's Desk [Editorial]
Pal, Pratapaditya
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 10-11

The subject of this editorial was prompted by a personal letter from Mulk Raj Anand, the founding editor of Marg. Touching, as it did, upon the 50th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Chandigarh the allusion leads this writer into discussing the conception of this remarkable city, his meeting with its architect Le Corbusier, and how this was eventually instrumental in kindling his interest in architecture.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
Portraits of Birds and Animals under Jahangir
Verma, Som Prakash
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 12-24 [Also in Flora and Fauna in Mughal Art edited by Som Prakash Verma; Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999; ISBN: 81-85026-43-2, pp. 12-24]

As Emperor Jahangir considered pictorial representation of nature a source of pleasure and amazement, and recognized the importance of the documentation of rarities to be passed on to later generations, numerous studies of birds and animals characterized by realism were made at his instance by his painters. These lively pictures are today regarded as pointedly commendable works with their striking quality of details and dexterous rendering of colours, with the masterpieces executed by Mansur, Manohar, Govardhan, and Abu'l Hasan being the most inventive creations of the Mughal atelier.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
The Use of Flora and Fauna Imagery in Mughal Decorative Arts
Markel, Stephen
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 25-35 [Also in Flora and Fauna in Mughal Art edited by Som Prakash Verma; Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999; ISBN: 81-85026-43-2, pp. 25-35]

Mughal decorative art freely accommodated bird, animal, and floral motifs, largely seen in the embellishment of arms and armour, ensigns, furniture, musical instruments, costumes, textiles, metalware, and other articles of day-to-day use. It was in the reign of Jahangir that the Mughal decorative arts came into their own as a fully developed form of creative expression featuring abundant floral imagery. While imperial ateliers working with the finest materials produced countless decorative objects of peerless quality, perhaps the most distinctive use of flora and fauna imagery in Mughal decorative art was its role in determining the external shape of a vessel, weapon hilt, or other luxury object.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
The Elephant in Mughal Painting
Das, Asok Kumar
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 36-54 [Also in Flora and Fauna in Mughal Art edited by Som Prakash Verma; Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999; ISBN: 81-85026-43-2, pp. 36-54]

Elephants continuously attracted the attention of Mughal painters and many vibrant images of royal elephants, elephant groups, and elephant fights were painted by them for emperors right upto Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, and the later Mughals. Akbar's interest in the elephant, however, almost verged on infatuation and the painters of his sprawling taswirkhana took great delight in executing innumerable studies of this favourite animal. The author describes several trained elephants kept for the personal use of various Mughal rulers. Outside the Mughal court, the painters of Bundi, Kota, and Jaipur carried on the tradition, inspired brilliantly by earlier Mughal studies of the elephant.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
Mythical Animals in Mughal Art: Images, Symbols, and Allusions
Vaughan, Philippa
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 55-68 [Also in Flora and Fauna in Mughal Art edited by Som Prakash Verma; Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999; ISBN: 81-85026-43-2, pp. 55-68]

Mughal imagery both developed classical traditions and also transformed them to create new symbols and allusions. In this endeavour, which was pursued over the course of a century, the dragon and the simurgh (a phoenix-like mythical bird of Arab, Iranian, and Indian literature) were endowed with additional powers of metaphor and allusion, characteristic of Persian poetry and illustration. Though this lasted during the century from Akbar to Shah Jahan, Emperor Aurangzeb did not continue the tradition and by the 18th century allusions to mythical animals in Mughal art almost completely ceased to be portrayed.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
The Fourteenth-century Adina Mosque in Pandua
Banerji, Naseem A.
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 69-93

The writer discusses the frequent repetition of the ubiquitous motif of the "lamp within a niche", an interesting feature of the decorative programme of the Adina Mosque at Pandua, West Bengal. The implications of this motif lead one to investigate the impact of Sufi teachings and the language of symbols used by mystics propounding the Ishraqi theory of Illumination. The second part of this article examines two of the mihrab niche surrounds (indicating the direction of Mecca) which are interesting examples of the sensitive combination of Islamic and Buddhist/Hindu decorative elements.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
Connections Between the Koranic Sura of Light, Sufi Light Mysticism, and the Motif of the "Lamp Within a Niche"
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 69-81

Naseem A. Banerji discusses the decorative programme of the Adina mosque in Pandua and the frequent use of the ubiquitous motif of the lamp within a niche, leading one to investigate the impact of Sufi teachings and the language of symbols.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
The Mihrabs in the Adina Mosque: Evidence of the Reuse of Late Pala-Sena Remains
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 82-93

The second part of the article by Naseem A. Banerji examines the mihrab niches in the Adina mosque in Pandua which are interesting examples of the sensitive combination of Islamic and Hindu/Buddhist decorative elements.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
Le Corbusier: Symbolic Themes at Chandigarh
Hurtt, Steven W.
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 94-106

Long been acknowledged as the most influential early Modern architect, Le Corbusier stands alone among his contemporaries in his Renaissance-like embrace of diverse fields. The author holds that examining this architect's work through the ideology of Primitivism promises a new perspective and interpretation, and the city of Chandigarh -- his most holistic work -- serves as a vehicle for this new perspective. Cosmological, iconographic, and rural and vernacular themes which resonate with the forms Le Corbusier has evolved are discussed.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
Newsletters
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 107-115

Monisha Ahmed reports on an exhibition of Indian art from the Berlin museum, the Nicholson collection of Contemporary art, a seminar on coastal forts in Maharashtra and conservation efforts; John Siudmak reviews Minakar, reports on Asian Art in London and the many venues for India-related art in London; Tushara Bindu Gude writes about the newly opened Getty Center in LA.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)
Book Reviews
Vol. 50 No. 3, March 1999, pp. 116-122

Indian Rock Art by Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty and Robert G. Bednarik, Parvatidarpana by Harsha V. Dehejia, Many Heads, Arms and Eyes by Doris Meth Srinivasan, Hindu Temples in Vietnam by J.C. Sharma, reviewed by Arun K. Nag, Gerald James Larson and Pratapaditya Pal, respectively.

BUY PDF:   75 (INR) / $ 2 (USD)