From Medina to the Maghreb and from the Indies to Istanbul
The Prophet Muhammad – acknowledged by his followers to have been the hand with which God wrote his definitive Word enshrined in the Koran – was born into the Quraishi tribe at Mecca c. 570 and died in Medina in 632. The great religion founded on that Word, which first claimed the submission (Islam) of the Arabs, rapidly expanded across North Africa, into southern Europe and east as far as China. This book examines the architectural tradition which developed with the religious culture. With its source in the ubiquitous courtyard house, the development of the mosque as both place of worship and the centre of the community, its form a response to the requirements of prayer set out in the Koran, was given a range of forms as Islam came up against the traditions of Egypt, Persia, India and China. The tradition developed further in tombs, palaces and fortifications, all of which are described and illustrated here.
The story continues with the glorious architecture of the Timurids, Safavids and Ottomans, using architects and craftsmen from a broad swathe of the world from Spain to India and beyond. Mosques expanded to unprecedented vastness, while colour and pattern were used to dazzling effect. And in Mughal India, a synthesis of traditional forms with those imported from Persia produced a series of magnificent mosques, citadels and tombs.
The architecture of Islam comprises a high proportion of the world’s most beautiful buildings, from perhaps the most perfect images of the lost Eden in the gardens of the Alhambra, to the built expression of the boundless expansion of the faith to be seen in the mosques of Ottoman Istanbul. This book covers the whole range in unprecedented depth, placing the development of the tradition in the context – religious, political, economic and technological – of the times.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: Dar Al-Islam 1.1 Ascendancy of the Caliphate and the Assertion of Orthodoxy 1.2 Decadence of the Caliphate: Shi’ite Challenge 1.3 Sunni Reaction: Caliphate and Sultanate Part 2: Beyond the Western Pale 2.1. Cordoban Caliphate 2.2. Moroccan Sultanates 2.3. Andalusian Enclaves Part 3: Dar Al-Islam Divided 3.1 The Central Axis of the Turks 3.2: The Orbit of Iran Part 4: Beyond The Eastern Pale 4.1. Afghans, Turks and Their Delhi Sultanate 4.2. Regional Gravity 4.3. The Mughals: Advent 4.4. The Deccan: The Qutbshahi and Adilshahi Sultanates 4.5. The Mughals: Apogee Epilogue: Hindustani Syncretism Glossary Further Reading Index
Christopher Tadgell taught architectural history for almost thirty years before devoting himself full-time to writing and research, travelling the world to see and photograph buildings from every tradition and period.
Born in Sydney, he studied art history at the Courtauld Institute in London. In 1974 he was awarded his PhD for a thesis on the Neoclassical architectural theorist, Ange-Jacques Gabriel. He subsequently taught in London and at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Canterbury, with interludes as F.L. Morgan Professor of Architectural Design at the University of Louisville and as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has lectured at academic institutions around the world, including the universities of Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell, the Graham Foundation in Chicago, and Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute in the UK. He is a Trustee of the World Monuments Fund, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a member of both the British and American Societies of Architectural Historians.
His The History of Architecture in India (1990, several reprints, Phaidon) is the definitive one-volume account of the architecture of the subcontinent, while many publications on French architecture include the standard account in Baroque and Rococo Architecture and Decoration (ed. Blunt, 1978, Elek). He has contributed many articles on Indian and French architecture to The Grove Dictionary of Art and other major reference books.