Reflection activity: Form and function
In what ways are the form and function of the Buddhist stupa and Hindu temple similar to or different from the Islamic mosque?
In what ways may the Quwwat al-Islam Mosque in Delhi be considered an Islamic(ate) building and an Indic one in terms of its construction and its design?
Discussion activity: Taj Mahal complex
What are the sources and precedents for the layout, elevation and design of the Taj Mahalcomplex of buildings?
In your research for this group discussion, I would encourage you to consider the following issues and ideas:
? the idea of the paradise garden (charbagh)
? the mausoleum in Indo-Islamic architecture
? Islamic architecture in Persia (Iran) and Central Asia
? the use of white marble, pietradura and calligraphy
? the meaning of the Taj Mahal
Reflection activity: Comparisons
Compare this eleventh-century palm-leaf manuscript with the fifth-century wall paintings at Ajanta and the fifteenth-century Jain manuscript paintings of western India (for example, Dehejia, pages 176-7).
For each, consider: (i) the medium and format; (ii) subject matter; (iii) style and depiction of figures; (iv) possible audience and function.
Discussion activity: Mughal painting
How does this painting relate to earlier paintings produced in India? Aspects that you may wish to consider for discussion include: the role of the artist; the context for its reception, the painting’s format; the depiction of the figures; the subject matter; use of perspective, colour and detail.
Reflection activity: Mughal and Rajput court paintings
If we compare two examples we can see the differing Mughal and Rajput court painting aesthetics.
Look at the pairs of illustrations in Dehejia’s book of pages from the Mughal Akbarnama of c.1590 (pages 314-15) and the Rajput Ramayana from Mewar of c.1650-52 (pages 348-9).
? What format are the paintings in, and how does this relate to earlier precedents?
? How is spatial depth conveyed by the artist?
? What is the main focus of interest in the painting?
? Can the paintings be distinguished by their use of colour or detail?