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Word Against Image in Mughal Chronicles


Sep 23 | 6:30 p.m.

Runs till: Sep 23


Bangalore International Centre

Bangalore International Centre (BIC), No. 7, 4th Main Rd, Stage 2, Domlur 560071

Event Description

Reading Between the Lines & Colours

A lecture by Kavitha Singh

The biographies and memoirs of Mughal emperors were some of the most prestigious manuscripts produced by the imperial kitabkhana and it is easy to assume that every aspect of a book like the Akbarnama or the Padshahnama would be carefully planned, from the text, to the paper on which it was written, the calligraphy of the words, the embellishment of the margins, and the paintings that accompanied the text. When word and image are seen in conjunction it becomes apparent that paintings were not just illustrations that followed the texts; they were texts in their own right and they expressed authorial positions, explored rhetorical possibilities and offered interpretations of events that could differ from the words.

This session will discuss the text-image relationship of select examples from the Akbarnama, the Jahangirnama, and the Padshahnama to show significant divergences between the words and the images that often faced each other across the page. Why is there a gap between the painting and the text? How did it affect the experience of the reader of the book? This lecture suggests that viewers "read" not just the text and the image, but also "saw" the gap between the two -- a gap that could be meaningful, producing a semantic richness of its own.



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