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Products for Grant FT-62126-14

FT-62126-14
The Connoisseurship of Longing and India's Mughal Emperors during the 16th and 17th Centuries
Molly Aitken-Zaidi, Unaffiliated Independent Scholar

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-62126-14

"Modernity's Challenge to India's Aesthetic Traditions" (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: "Modernity's Challenge to India's Aesthetic Traditions"
Abstract: Rajput painting, Hindi poetry and Hindustani music have documented histories going back at least to the sixteenth century. Yet all three aesthetic traditions came under sustained attack in the colonial modern period for their supposed formalism, decadence, hidebound obeisance to tradition, and above all their eroticism and sensuality. Producers and supporters of all three art forms employed surprisingly similar transformative strategies to meet the challenges that modernity and bourgeois nationalism posed to the survival of these important North Indian traditions. In the process, however, important early-modern links among the three traditions, which followed from a rich and virtuosic aesthetic of intermedial and multilingual borrowing, were covered over and largely forgotten. In this conversation, three international scholars of these traditions, whose work traverses the early-modern and colonial periods, will discuss what happened to the entangled histories and aesthetics of these arts as they transitioned into the modern world.
Author: Katherine Butler Schofield
Author: Molly Emma Aitken
Author: Allison Busch
Date: 10/23/2014
Location: King's College, London
Primary URL: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/aboutkings/worldwide/initiatives/global/indiainstitute/Events/eventsrecords/Modernitys-challenge-to-Indias-aesthetic-traditions-Rajput-painting,-Hindi-poetry-and-Hindustani-music.aspx
Primary URL Description: Link to the events page for King's College London

The Art of Mughal Connoisseurship (tentative title) (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: The Art of Mughal Connoisseurship (tentative title)
Abstract: What do today's art historians do with India's pre-modern court paintings and why? Do our modern ways of looking bear any relationship to the ways that pre-modern connoisseurs looked at paintings? With the aim of introducing the audience to the ways that Mughal-era viewers appreciated court paintings, this talk considers the relationship of painting to Mughal material culture, to literature and music, and to contemporaneous aesthetic philosophies.
Author: Molly Emma Aitken
Date: 1/21/2015
Location: Jaipur, India (for the Jaipur Literary Festival)
Primary URL: http://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/molly-aitken-5213.html
Primary URL Description: website for the Jaipur Literary Festival

Love Beyond Reach: Mughal Paintings of Indian Heroines (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Love Beyond Reach: Mughal Paintings of Indian Heroines
Abstract: The 16th and 17th centuries witnessed the codification in paintings of ideal Indic heroines called nayikas, some of whom were based on earlier sculptural prototypes. Defined in the visual arts by their conventional poses and motifs, these nayikas entered into a wide range of pictorial contexts, including illustrations of poetic and devotional texts and the pages of Mughal albums, called muraqqa, which combined painting with beautifully calligraphed texts. The Indic nayika joined European, Persian, and Mughal female ideals in a richly varied repertoire of types, which painters would continue to draw on well into the 19th and 20th centuries. Related to this phenomenon was a growing profusion of portraits that pictured elite Mughal and Rajput men with beautiful women, some of them types and some possibly representing wives or mistresses. Focusing on the Indic nayika, this paper examines her aesthetic and social significance in the early years of her codification, especially in relation to the broader proliferation of pictures of female beauties. Particular attention is given to the production and reception of nayika imagery in domains of elite social pleasure, where she would have been surrounded with poetry, music, dance, food and drink, friendship, and love. The paper builds on recent scholarship that understands the Mughal and Rajput worlds to have been mutually constitutive, and on a growing dialogue between South Asian art history and cultural studies, while addressing the need for more sustained theorization of the central place of gender in the visual arts of the Mughal era.
Author: Molly Emma Aitken
Date: 4/7/2015
Location: Emory University

Picture Perfect: Indic Heroines in Mughal Society (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Picture Perfect: Indic Heroines in Mughal Society
Author: Molly Emma Aitken
Abstract: The 16th and 17th centuries witnessed the codification in paintings of ideal Indic heroines called nayikas, some of whom were based on earlier sculptural prototypes. Defined in the visual arts by their conventional poses and motifs, these nayikas entered into a wide range of pictorial contexts, including illustrations of poetic and devotional texts and the pages of Mughal albums, called muraqqa, which combined painting with beautifully calligraphed texts. The Indic nayika joined European, Persian, and Mughal female ideals in a richly varied repertoire of types, which painters would continue to draw on well into the 19th and 20th centuries. Related to this phenomenon was a growing profusion of portraits that pictured elite Mughal and Rajput men with beautiful women, some of them types and some possibly representing wives or mistresses. Focusing on the Indic nayika, this paper examines her aesthetic and social significance in the early years of her codification, especially in relation to the broader proliferation of pictures of female beauties. Particular attention is given to the production and reception of nayika imagery in domains of elite social pleasure, where she would have been surrounded with poetry, music, dance, food and drink, friendship, and love. The paper builds on recent scholarship that understands the Mughal and Rajput worlds to have been mutually constitutive, and on a growing dialogue between South Asian art history and cultural studies, while addressing the need for more sustained theorization of the central place of gender in the visual arts of the Mughal era.
Date: 3/27/2015
Primary URL: http://www.asian-studies.org/conference/
Primary URL Description: Conference website
Conference Name: Association for Asian Studies (AAS)


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