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Tactile Histories of the Mughal Album

April 19 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Free
Gouache painting mounted on card and affixed into an album of 42 depicting a combination of portrait and genre scenes in a variety of painting styles. An illustration of kedara ragini: a naked woman is positioned on a low throne, situated in a green landscape. The painting is framed by a foliate border, and is highlighted with gold pigment.

Join the Department of Art History for the Catherine B. Asher Lecture in South Asian and Islamic Art History. The inaugural lecture “Tactile Histories of the Mughal Album” will be presented by Dr. Yael Rice, Amherst College, on April 19 at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) at Elmer L. Andersen Library and online. A reception will follow the lecture.

This is a hybrid event. Please register for online access. (It’s not necessary to register if you are attending in person). This event is free and open to the public.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the James Ford Bell Library and the Center for Premodern Studies; and made possible by the Frederick and Catherine Asher Strategic Initiatives Fund.

About the talk

Gouache painting mounted on card and affixed into an album of 42 depicting a combination of portrait and genre scenes in a variety of painting styles. An illustration of kedara ragini: a naked woman is positioned on a low throne, situated in a green landscape. The painting is framed by a foliate border, and is highlighted with gold pigment.

British Museum, 1920,0917,0.12.34.

As compilations of discrete, fragmentary images and texts in codex format, Mughal albums lend themselves to ocularcentric analysis. How else, if not by sight, would one read a book? Yet the Mughals’ word for album, muraqqa — Arabic for “patched” or “mended” —  foregrounds other modes of sensory engagement, namely touch. While the term clearly evokes the tactile processes of trimming and pasting together employed in the production of such albums, it also suggests the frequent episodes of repair that any excessively handled book would demand. Following this linguistic cue, this talk situates the Mughal album at the center of a complex matrix of both visual and tactile practices. It examines how physical touch and haptic perception factored in the organization, construction, and use of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century albums both within and beyond the Mughal court. It furthermore places these materials within a broader constellation of stitched textiles and gardens with and in which albums were enjoyed. Thus, this talk also builds on the important work of Catherine Asher, whose scholarship opened up new and vital ways of understanding the Mughal lived environment.

Venue

Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120
222 21st Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN, 55455 United States
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