Monday, March 25, 2013

SSiMS lunch talk on Islam and Figurative Art at Hampshire College on March 27th

by Salman Hameed

Our Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies (SSiMS) is hosting a lunch talk this coming Wednesday, March 27th, by Yael Rice. The talk will be in the lobby of Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) at Noon and the topic looks fascinating. Join us, if you are in the area. Here are the details:


Sound and Vision/Word and Image: Islamic Portraiture and its Many Forms
by Yael Rice
Five College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamic Art at Amherst College

Abstract: It is a widespread misconception that the medieval and early-modern arts of the Islamic lands lacked a tradition of figural depiction. In fact, illustrated manuscripts from Mosul (Iraq) to Agra (India) provide clear evidence of a rich practice of figuration, including painted portraits of authors, patrons, and other important figures. With several notable exceptions, manuscripts of histories, poetic works, biographies, and other texts nevertheless evidence a pronounced reliance upon verbal, rather than pictorial, representations of likeness. This talk will address the complex relationship between textual and pictorial portrait imagery in the book arts of Greater Iran and South Asia from the 13th through the 17th centuries, focusing in particular on the Mughal court of northern India, which saw a marked shift towards a practice of mimetic portraiture rooted in optical, sensate experiences.

Speaker Bio: Yael Rice (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) specializes in the art and architecture of Greater Iran and South Asia, with a particular focus on manuscripts and other portable arts of the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. Currently the Five College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamic Art at Amherst College, she previously held the position of Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 2009 till 2012. Her publications include studies of European engravings and Persian calligraphic specimens in Mughal royal albums, the 1598–99 MughalRazmnama (Book of war), and an early fifteenth-century Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami copied and illustrated in the region of Fars, Iran.

Rice's current research concerns physiognomic analysis as a courtly and artistic practice, Mughal depictions of imperial dreams, paintings made for the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (r. 1658-1707), and the cultural and material history of jade in early modern Central and South Asia.

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In the Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) Lobby at Hampshire College.        
A light lunch will be available at noon.

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