Workshop | 18th-C Persianate Albums Made in India

Posted in conferences (to attend), online learning by Editor on September 12, 2021

Musical and dance performance in the harem, from an Indo-Persianate album of Antoine Louis Polier, I 4594, fol. 19, Delhi or Faizabad before 1777
(Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Islamische Kunst / Johannes Kramer)

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From ArtHist.net (11 September 2021) . . .

18th-Century Persianate Albums Made in India: Audiences – Artists – Patrons and Collectors
Online and In-Person, Museum of Asian Art and Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, 15–17 September 2021

Organized by Friederike Weis

This workshop will address the role of Indo-Persianate albums (muraqqaʿs) that were assembled for or collected by the Mughal governors of Awadh (Uttar Pradesh): Shujaʿ al-Daula (r. 1754–75) and his successor Asaf al-Daula (r. 1775–97), as well as other local elites in Bengal and Bihar. Europeans also participated in the creation and consumption of albums, as patrons and collectors. In 1882, the Prussian State acquired a group of twenty albums from the twelfth Duke of Hamilton. So far, these artworks have received little study. Eight of them belonged to the Scottish surgeon and interpreter Archibald Swinton (1731–1804) and ten to the Franco-Swiss engineer-architect Antoine Louis Henri Polier (1741–1795)—both were Company officers deeply acquainted with Indo-Persian aristocratic culture. Many more albums are linked to well-known European figures, such as the Governor-General of Bengal Warren Hastings (1732–1818) and the French Company officer (and special agent to Shujaʿ al-Daula in Faizabad) Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Gentil (1726–1799). Numerous interrelated questions arise from the study of this material, concerning audiences, artists, patrons, collectors, and their wish to produce and preserve knowledge.

The workshop will be held as a blended format with a mix of online and on-site presentations at the Museum of Asian Art and the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin. You are cordially invited to join all presentations via webex (free of charge). We anticipate that the event will be recorded. If you wish to attend the workshop in person, please note that the number of seats at both venues is limited. Advance registration for on-site attendance is essential: f.weis@smb.spk-berlin.de.

Times are listed according to CEST (Central European Summer Time)

W E D N E S D A Y ,  1 5  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 2 1
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, 3.00–6.20pm | Link

3.00  Raffael Gadebusch (Berlin) — Welcome

3.15  Friederike Weis (Berlin) — Introduction

3.50  Session 1. Polier’s Albums and Manuscripts: Contents and Contexts
Chair: Friederike Weis
• Susan Stronge (London) — Collecting the Mughal Past
• Malini Roy (London) — Blurred Lines: Looking at the Paintings by the Artist Mihr Chand and Determining the Boundaries between Innovation, Imitation, or Intentional ‘Duplication’
• Firuza Abdullaeva-Melville (Cambridge) — Three Highlights of Polier’s Collection from Cambridge: Treasures or Leftovers

T H U R S D A Y ,  1 6  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 2 1
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, 9.30am–4.30pm | Link

9.30  Session 2. Patrons, Collectors, and Compilation Strategies
Chair: Susan Stronge
• Emily Hannam (Windsor) — Fit for a King? Two Late Mughal Albums in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle
• Axel Langer (Zurich) — Obvious or Hidden Narratives in the Large Clive Album
• J.P. Losty (Sussex) — Archibald Swinton’s Indian Paintings and Albums: An Analysis

12.00  Lunch Break

1.20  Session 3. Recurrent Themes and Tropes in Indo-Persianate Albums
Chair: Laura Parodi
• Katherine Butler Schofield (London) — Performing Women in the Polier and Plowden Albums: Pursuing Khanum Jan
• Molly Aitken (New York) — Intoxicating Friendships: Figuring Classical Indian Aesthetic Regimes in Mughal Album Painting
• Yuthika Sharma (Edinburgh) — Topography as Mughal Utopia? Polier’s ‘Garden Series’ and Artistic Exchange in 18th-Century Periphery-Centre Imagination
• Anastassiia Botchkareva (New York) — Tropes and Outliers: Tracing Patterns of Iconography in the Polier Albums

F R I D A Y ,  1 7  S E P T E M B E R  2 0 2 1
Archäologisches Zentrum (Offices of the Museum für Islamische Kunst), 9.45am–3.30pm | Link

9.45  Stefan Weber and Deniz Erduman-Çalış (Berlin) — Welcome

10.00  Session 4. Calligraphy in the Berlin Albums: Historicism and Contemporary Mughal Masters
Chair: Axel Langer
• Claus-Peter Haase (Berlin) — The Calligraphies of the 16th-17th Centuries in the Berlin Albums: Reflections on their Origins and Purpose in a Muraqqaʿ
• Will Kwiatkowski (Berlin) — Expanding the Canon: Mir Muhammad Husayn ʿAta Khan and the Polier Albums

11.50  Session 5. Indian Muraqqaʿs Collected by Europeans: Networks and Relationships
Chair: Deniz Erduman-Çalış
• Laura Parodi (Genova) — Allegory and Verisimilitude in Later Indian Albums
• Isabelle Imbert (Manchester) — Like a Garden Bedecked: Floral Margins in 18th-Century Awadhi Albums Produced for European Patrons

1.10  Lunch Break

2.20  Session 5: Indian Muraqqaʿs Collected by Europeans: Networks and Relationships, continued
• Yael Rice (Amherst, MA) — The London Market for South Asian Muraqqaʿs and the Hastings Albums

3.00  Final Discussion

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