Ambedkar University Delhi
Invites you to a lecture by
Prof. Catherine B. Asher
(University of Minnesota)
The Qutb Complex: An Historical and Historiographic View
Venue: CR 12, Ambedkar University Delhi, Kashmere Gate Campus, Delhi-6
Date: Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Time: 3-5 pm (Sharp)
Abstract: This presentation will examine the famous Qutb mosque complex in Delhi that commenced in the late 12th century and remains today a major attraction for locals and tourists alike. Although the complex is commonly known as the Quwwat al-Islam, the Strength of Islam, in fact, this name is only a few hundred years old. A goal of this presentation is to think about this well-known site in new ways that contextualize its place in both India and the larger Islamic world. The motivations for the construction of Delhi’s mosque, originally from spolia, are examined as are the multiple new components of this complex that spanned the first several hundred years of Muslim rule. Included in this complex are the world’s tallest brick/stone constructed minaret, an early tomb and a magnificent arched stone screen in front of the original mosque. Issues to be addressed include: the possible reasons for radical changes in visual aesthetics at the complex, the messages of the inscriptions including graffiti on the monuments and the political aspirations of the patrons responsible for complex’s growth.
Catherine B. Asher is Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Minnesota, and teaches a wide range of courses on South Asian and Islamic art and culture. Well known for her work on the Mughal dynasty (1526–1858), she is increasingly working on the patronage of its successors and predecessors, both Muslim and non-Muslim, from 1200 to the present. Asher’s books include Architecture of Mughal India (1992), Perceptions of South Asia’s Visual Past (1994) and India before Europe (2006; co-authored with Cynthia Talbot). This lecture is based on her most recent book Delhi’s Qutb Complex: The Minar, Mosque and Mehrauli (2017) published by Marg.
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