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India: Treasures of the Deccan

INDIA: Treasures of the Deccan, a series of lectures by veteran scholar George Michell (2, 9, 16 and 23 October 2013), is a celebration of the central Indian region often described as the heartland of peninsular India.

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Virupaksha temples at Hampi, near Bangalore, Karnataka state, India. Photograph: Surendra Kumar

Presented by Katriana Hazell, the lecture series will cover a range of influences manifest in Deccan art, architecture and society, both ancient and modern.

Admission is free to all four talks at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H OXG.


Wednesday 2 October | 7.00-8.15 pm
Temples of the Early Chalukyas: Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal
Between the sixth and eighth centuries CE the Deccan was dominated by the Early Chalukya kings, who sponsored sandstone Hindu and Jain temples, both rock-cut and structurally free-standing. These sacred monuments are covered with magnificent relief sculptures that give visual expression to a full range of Hindu icons, as well as depicting courtly attendants, amorous couples and episodes from diverse epic narratives.

Wednesday 9 October | 7.00-8.15 pm
Imperial Magnificence: Hampi Vijayanagara
As capital of the largest and wealthiest Hindu kingdom of southern India during the 14th-16th centuries, Vijayanagara was built up as a showpiece of imperial magnificence. The ruins of Hampi, the name by which the site is best known today, are among the most spectacular and extensive in all India. The lecture will explore the layout of the city and its links with local Hindu myths, and then describe its surviving military, courtly and religious structures.

Wednesday 16 October | 7.00-8.15 pm
Sultanate Splendour: Gulbarga, Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda
The Bahmani rulers, contemporaries of the Vijayanagara emperors, and their sultanate successors, resided in great walled citadels in which they built grandly scaled, sumptuously decorated palaces, as well as imposing mosques and tombs. The lecture will describe the 14th-15th century monuments of the Bahmanis at Gulbarga and Bidar, followed by the 16th-17th century monuments of the Adil Shahis at Bijapur and the Qutb Shahis at Golconda and Hyderabad.

Wednesday 23 October | 7.00-8.15 pm
Courtly Arts: Miniature Painting, Metalwork, Textiles
No decorative arts survived the sack and abandonment of Hampi Vijayanagara in 1565, nor have any been preserved from Gulbarga or Bidar. This is in striking contrast to the abundance of art objects associated with the courts of Bijapur and Golconda. The sultans of these kingdoms vigorously patronised sumptuous miniature paintings, gleaming inlaid metal objects, and brilliantly coloured cotton textiles, all of which will be described in this lecture.

About George Michell
George Michell trained as an architect in Melbourne, and then studied Indian Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Much of his research has been conducted at sites in the Deccan, including surveys of the temples in and around Badami, and the ruins of the imperial city of Hampi Vijayanagara. Among his many books are Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates (with Mark Zebrowski), and Discovering the Deccan: A Panoramic Journey Through Historical Landscapes & Monuments (with Helen Philon).

The lecture series was made possible by the Bagri Foundation, set up in 1985, which encourages learning through scholarships, bursaries, lecture series and exhibitions. The Foundation says it seeks to promote a better understanding of art and culture, particularly of South Asia. In recent years it has helped fund major lecture series on aspects of Indian history, Indian religious architecture, miniature paintings, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

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Author: Editor

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