DECCAN – Encyclopaedia Iranica
The Deccan Sultanates were five dynasties that ruled late medieval Indian kingdoms, namely, Bijapur, Golkonda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar, and Berar in south- western India. The Deccan sultanates were located on the Deccan Plateau, between the .. The Adil Shahi rulers contributed greatly in the fields of art, architecture. Deccan Sultanates and Persia: The Political and Cultural Relations in the Medieval rulers to enlarge their kingdoms, and their passion for art, architecture and. Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates, Volume 1. The Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan plateau flourished from the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries. During this period, the Deccan sultans built palaces, mosques and tombs, and patronised artists who produced paintings and.
Figurative Kalamkari This attractive kalamkari is a rare surviving figurative painting on cotton from the seventeenth century in the Golconda region and is among the most delicate and complex paintings of this time.
It also illustrates Deccani cosmopolitanism as the kalamkari portrays a courtly scene with a gathering of figures from the four corners of the world. In the centre is a fantastical multi-storeyed palace that could be a building or a tent.
A sultan, dressed in Persian costume, reclines against a bolster in the central chamber while a woman serves wine to him. While her costume is Persian, the hat she wears is European in style. Traders and travellers from the four corners of the world lounge in the kalamkari's garden.
Here, a man in Ottoman costume feeds his bird from a cup while speaking to a Chinese man. In the lower left corner stand a man and a woman dressed in Central Asian costume.
He carries a Chinese vase. Perhaps these are traders from the Silk Route. Above them is a yogi, perched on a deerskin, contemplating a pineapple. The pineapple is a New World fruit, brought to the Deccan by Portuguese traders. It must have been newly arrived when this kalamkari was made. Patterns are first painted with mordants, chemical catalysts that make the dye colours fast.
The New Cambridge History of India: Architecture and Art in the Deccan Sultanates, I
The cloth is then painted or dipped in the appropriate dye. But a resist is first applied to the parts that are not to be dyed. As a result, each section of this kalamkari is the result of several painstaking processes. Deccani workshops knew the secrets of producing brilliant and fast colours before the rest of the world. Brightly patterned textiles were in high demand all over the world. A kalamkari like this stands at the centre of 17th century global trade. It shows traders and luxury goods from China, Turkey, Persia, Central Asia and the Americas, all of which were brought to the Deccan by traders who came to purchase the Deccan's own fabulous trade goods, including textiles such as this one.
Purchased as slaves, they were shipped eastward from the large slave markets along the Persian Gulf. However, many Habshis were skilled warriors and in the Deccan they often gained freedom and attained high rank.
Nauras: The Many Arts of the Deccan — Google Arts & Culture
The most famous Abyssinian of the Deccan was Malik Ambar. Born in Ethiopia, he was sold as a slave in the markets of Baghdad and was eventually bought by the Prime Minister of Ahmadnagar.
Here Malik learned about governance. After his master's death, Malik was released from slavery. He became recognised for his military acumen and rose to become the Prime Minister and Regent of the kingdom, and had his daughter married to the Sultan. Malik Ambar is remembered for successfully defending Ahmadnagar against the Mughals although eventually he had to cede the fort of Ahmadnagar to them. He introduced the revenue reforms known as Malik Ambar Dhara, which became the basis of all future revenue system in Deccan.
The cultural affinities that resulted from this enduring bond with Persia can be seen in the literature, poetry, architecture, paintings and decorative arts of the Deccani Sultanates. Rustam Captures the Horse Rakhsh This painting depicts Rustam, one of the heroes of the Shahnama, pursuing a herd of wild horses.
He throws his lasso to capture Rakhsh, a magical horse that will be his faithful companion through many adventures. The Shahnama was not just the national epic of Persia but was celebrated wherever Persian culture held sway. This extraordinary painting is made through the art of marbling, colours swirling on water are picked up by a sheet of paper that is quickly laid on the water's surface.
The art of marbling originated either in Turkey or in Persia and then reached the Deccani courts. Usually, entire sheets of paper were marbled and were used as background or borders for calligraphy. Marbled paintings such as this were the result of an especially complex process and were a speciality of Bijapur in the Deccan. The artist applied a resistant gum or stencil to the areas that were not to be marbled; afterwards, this was removed and details were added by brush.
This leaf has been marbled thrice, once with brilliant colours, once with browns and once with black ink.
To finish, the artist brushes in tiny details. Here the eyes are filled in with black and white and the figures are outlined in gold. Only a few such marbled paintings are known to survive. The signature is seen here on the top left of the painting. The text deals with aspects of metaphysics, theology, Islamic jurisprudence, the Hadith, the Imamate, ethics, social philosophy, history, politics, administration, civics, science, rhetoric, poetry, literature etc.
This is a most important text for Shia Islam, third only to the Quran and Hadith. The entire manuscript is illuminated, with gold and floral patterns. The cover page bears the name of the library of Rai Raja Ram Mustafwi-i-Sirkar-i-Asifia which indicates that this manuscript must have at one time been part of the Asifia Royal collection at Hyderabad.
However, this manuscript only has an incomplete text of the Nahj al-Balagha and is bound along with portions of an unnamed illustrated Persian manuscript on astronomy. But Arabic was also the language of science. When the Mongols attacked Baghdad in the 13th century, its scholars fled and its libraries were scattered. The Sultanates all over India, including the Deccan, welcomed many fleeing scholars, and patronised Arabic literature. Deccani libraries held many books of Arab science, and several of these texts were translated into Persian in the Deccan.
Composed by the Iranian scholar Zakaria bin Muhammad Al Qazwini, the Ajai'b is an account of all things known or believed to exist in the heavens, on earth and in the waters.
Nauras: The Many Arts of the Deccan
An early section deals with cosmography, describing things that exist in the heavens. These include the planets and the constellations, as well as angels and the throne and footstool of God. On earth, Qazwini describes men and beasts as well as plants and minerals. Jinns are the rebellious angels who have fallen from God's favour and they too inhabit the earthly sphere.
Qazwini describes ordinary domestic animals as well as fabulous creatures known from myths and travellers' tales. The Ajai'b was very popular throughout the Islamic world and was translated into several languages. The National Museum's manuscript is a Persian translation that was probably made in Bijapur. It is written in a neat hand in the Naskh script and there are illustrated folios among its folios.
The colophon of this manuscript is difficult to decipher. The style of illustrations suggests this manuscript was made in Bijapur but a seal on the flyleaf tells us this was part of the library of Pari Sahib, a Golconda princess who was the daughter of Muhammad Qutb Shah. Unidentified Astrological Text The golden orbs that dot this drawing of a ship are stars; the ship itself traces the constellation described by them.
This illustration is taken from the pages of the unknown astrological manuscript that were bound along with the pages of the Nahj ul Balagha seen in the previous section.INDIA - Treasures of the Deccan with George Michell - Part 1
In the medieval period, no distinction was made between the study of astronomy and astrology. Since the stars were believed to govern lives and events on earth, studying them closely was of the utmost importance.
In the Deccan, Arabic science was augmented with learning derived from local sources, and this fragmentary manuscript may have been similar to the Nujum al-Ulum or Science of the Stars, an encyclopedic text written in the early 17th century in Bijapur in the Deccan, possibly by Sultan Ali Adil Shah.
It is one among many testaments to the cosmopolitan character of the Deccani Sultanates, which were open to cultures and learning from all traditions. George Michell puts a large amount of new monuments on the map of our knowledge. He had very little to go with besides Z. Joshi Hyderabad,and E. The Deccan Warminster, Michell filled the lacunae with his own field work, guided by remote publications hardly accessible to Western readers.
He also provides us with an assessment of Deccani temple architecture after the Muslim conquest, the revival of temple architecture under Maratha rule in the 17th and 18th centuries for which the architects, as he shows, had to rely on forms borrowed from Sultanate and Mughal architecture as the most readily available models.
Michell presents a body of monuments through descriptions, plans, and photographs; what one misses is the identification of architectural themes and forms, and a discussion of the specific Deccani way of treating them, especially in the face of the powerful presence of Mughal architecture.
One also wonders whether and how the religiously motivated link to Shiite Iran affected architecture. He also points out new links to the regional schools of Rajasthan and establishes convincing connections between painting and the applied arts. This chapter makes salutary reading for scholars still clinging to a monolithic notion of Islam.
The book would have greatly profited from more discussions of such larger issues, from a greater attempt to link formal concerns with contextual ones. But this brings us to a general challenge of the art historian working on South Asia, especially on such uncharted terrain as the Deccan. On one hand he or she has to establish his or her basic material as it was done for Western art history in the earlier periods; on the other hand he or she has to face all the questions the discipline has asked since then in the course of its development.