Imagining islamic Aesthetics # 19 – Indo-Saracenic Revival Architecture

For this edition of Imagining Islamic Aesthetics, I would like to touch on the topic of Indo-Saracenic Revival Architecture.

This topic may not directly touch the subject of Islamic Art and Architecture, but rather more to see the impact of Islamic aesthetics to non-Muslim or non-Arab cultures, as we can see with the past topic of Islamic influences of Christian art.

The Indo-Saracenic Revival Architecture, also known as Indo-Gothic or Mughal Gothic is a style devised by British Architects in the late 19th Century in British India. It combines Mughal or Islamic Indian architecture with Gothic Revival which is then in favour in Victorian British. this style is most prevalent in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but examples are also found in Great Britain itself, as well as Malaysia.

Rose Garden Mansion in Dhaka, in Bangladesh.  You can see the arches that echoes the arches of Mughal Architecture. you can also see the usage of domes, though it looks more European rather than Arabic or Islamic.

Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata, India. Even though the building is heavy on the European, Gothic Revival style, it still showcases some characteristics that makes it one of the example of Indo-Saracenic Revival Architectural style. The four corner towers display onion shaped domes, There is an Iwan with European details, and the whole building is almost similar in plan to the famous Taj Mahal, complete with its white marble.

Lahore Museum in Lahore, Pakistan. The building may pass as a Mughal Architecture example, however some characteristic makes it Indo-Saracenic. The fact that it was built in the 19th century, it also uses a typical Gothic Revival floorplan, as well as the domes used (particularly the larger ones) have European details.

The North Gate of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Great Britain. The gate and the building itself displays clear influences of Mughal Architecture, albeit quite exaggerated. This is one example of the obsessions of the Western world towards Eastern culture, or more specifically, Orientalism.

Sultan Abdul Samad building, Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The brickworks are typical in European architecture, as well as the ornamentations . However the arches are clearly influenced by Islamic architecture.


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