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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Stone pilaster

Location

    • First floor | Room 32 | India from 600

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.

 

Publications online

  • Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum by J. C. Harle and Andrew Topsfield

    Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum

    These two elaborate carved pillars are technically pilasters, since full-length portions of two adjacent sides remain uncarved. The Adina mosque at Pandua and the one at Gaur are the two earliest mosques to have survived in Bengal and unlike almost all of their successors they were built of stone. This was almost certainly thanks to the proximity of the Rajmahal hills in Bihar, the only source of stone for Bengal, both for building and for sculpture [see LI894.12]. The decoration consists mostly of flora or abstract motifs, although bunches of grapes (?) as well as bells can be identified. These would be acceptable to Muslims; on the other hand, the general nature of the decoration belongs to the stylistic koine of late North Indian architectural decoration, Hindu ornament having been increasingly formalized to the point of abstraction. The earlier mosques in western India, dating from the 12th century, made extensive use of materials taken from demolished Hindu temples, which raises the interesting possibility that these pillars were originally carved for a Hindu temple and re-used for the Adina Mosque.

    There are identical pillars in the British Museum and the Royal Scottish Museum.
  • Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum by J. C. Harle and Andrew Topsfield

    Indian Art in the Ashmolean Museum

    These two elaborate carved pillars are technically pilasters, since full-length portions of two adjacent sides remain uncarved. The Adina mosque at Pandua and the one at Gaur are the two earliest mosques to have survived in Bengal and unlike almost all of their successors they were built of stone. This was almost certainly thanks to the proximity of the Rajmahal hills in Bihar, the only source of stone for Bengal, both for building and for sculpture [see LI894.12]. The decoration consists mostly of flora or abstract motifs, although bunches of grapes (?) as well as bells can be identified. These would be acceptable to Muslims; on the other hand, the general nature of the decoration belongs to the stylistic koine of late North Indian architectural decoration, Hindu ornament having been increasingly formalized to the point of abstraction. The earlier mosques in western India, dating from the 12th century, made extensive use of materials taken from demolished Hindu temples, which raises the interesting possibility that these pillars were originally carved for a Hindu temple and re-used for the Adina Mosque.

    There are identical pillars in the British Museum and the Royal Scottish Museum.

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