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Islamic art and architecture


As they were born in the same region and grew under the same climate, they did not have architectural differences basically. However, Islamic architecture had grown under a completely different civilization and was alien architecture to India, having principles and sense of beauty totally different from Indian traditional architecture. The Sultans and ministers were well-grounded in their own architecture and wanted to build mosques and palaces same as in their home countries. Since craftsmen who constructed those buildings actually were conquered Indians, it was to cause strong entanglements between traditional and foreign architecture.

AC2/P4: Medieval Architecture: Mughal Sultanate - domes, tombs, mosques

Then, what was the difference between Indian traditional architecture and Islamic architecture coming from the outside? Before seeing that, I will expound three categories of world architecture. The first category is the 'Sculptural architecture' that treats buildings as massive objects and elaborates their sculptural effect as architectural expression.

It is represented by the Indian traditional architecture. As typically seen in temples in Khajuraho, not only are their walls completely covered with statues of Gods and other sculptures but also the building itself is regarded as an enormous sculpture as a whole.

Islamic Architecture: Origin, History & Styles

On the other hand, their interior spaces are quite narrow and inferior as compared with its majestic exterior. It is represented by Islamic architecture. The Great Mosque in Damascus and the Friday Mosque in Isfahan are buried in the fabric of town houses and stores, and we therefore cannot see their external forms at all. However, once inside the mosques, we shall find well-regulated composition and ornament in geometric order and worship halls as magnificent interior spaces.

The third is the 'Framework architecture' or 'Trabeated architecture' that consists of a post-and-beam frame and its upper roof, not necessarily requiring demarcation of space with walls. Japanese wooden architecture is typical.

Islamic Architecture in India (By Different Dynasties)

Inside and outside spaces become continuous as a result of the lack of walls, and its sculptural effect of an exterior form is not so strong. As the political power of Islam in India gradually expanded its dominions from Delhi and constructed mosques in each region, sculptural architecture as the first category and membranous architecture as the second category conflicted with and influenced each other through trial and error.

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Here Islamic architecture brought from Persia would transfigure with Indianization. We will now glance at the difference between their masonry systems supporting its architecture. As wood decreased afterward due to the aridification of the Indian subcontinent, monumental edifices came to be constructed of stone.

However, in spite of using stone, Indians who had been totally involved in the trabeated structure and the aesthetics of wood would continue to persist in trabeation, that is to compose buildings with the post and beam method, treating stone as if it were wood.

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Arts of the Islamic World

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