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Power and Pleasure in Indian Painting

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, 2 – 6 p.m.


This symposium focuses on Indian painting in Mewar and Marwar, distinct areas of Rajasthan ruled by Rajputs (Hindu kings), and the Mughal empire between the sixteenth century and nineteenth centuries. Speakers with expertise in painting from Mewar (Dipti Khera), Marwar (Debra Diamond), and Mughal India (Yael Rice) will discuss connections and disjunctions between Rajput and Mughal painting. They will illuminate collecting, connoisseurship, cosmopolitanism, and cultural exchange among courtly elites, and address recent developments in the study of Indian painting, including the turn to the senses, affect, and emotion.

The symposium highlights art as performance or time-based event, subject to recitation, reiteration, revision, and reimagination. It considers South Asian historical contexts of the mehfil (gathering for musical concert or poetic recitation) and javanika (stage curtain of Indian theater) as well as concepts such as jugalbandi (musical duet) and jugaad (workaround, innovative fix, improvisation, bricolage) with the artist functioning as a sutradhar (narrator, storyteller, performer, stage manager) or "picture showman," to use Ananda K. Coomaraswamy’s phrase.

Image: Two Sitting Painters at Work, detail, Gulshan Album, Court of Jehangir, early 17th century. Libri picturati A 117, f.12r, Staatsbibliothek, Berlin


EVENT SPONSORS: South Asia Center
School of Art + Art History + Design
Simpson Center for the Humanities
Gardner Center for Asian Arts and Ideas at the Seattle Art Museum



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