in Team 2

Art History: Week IV Reading Workshop

Team 2: “What does the author discover through formal analysis?”

The author discovered that “engravings were conceived as suitable counterparts to Islamic paintings held in the Mogul imperial collections“.

This is evident in instances in which engravings are paired with paintings (fig.1)

Fig. 1 : Two small print featuring “female subjects seated before windows”, paired with painting of a comparatively larger size.

Evidence that they were, as asserted, paired:

  1. The engravings’ edges  were “masked by a frame of columns”. The engravings does not appear as a standalone object, but is integrated more seamlessly.
  2. The painting is pasted on and to a larger sheet of paper such that the width equals the two engravings’. They are now aligned and are unified in the form of a rectangle.
  3. “Pictorial field is then further unified by borders framing the paintings and the prints, lending to the page a convincing cohesion and

Team 2: “How has the incorporation of engravings been understood by previous scholars?”

  1. Engravings in relation to paintings:”Scholarly examinations have tended to fixate upon these Mogul paintings done after European prints, giving very little attention to the engravings themselves, which can be found mounted alongside paintings and specimens of Persian calligraphy in royal albums (muraqqa’).”

    Incorporation of engravings were looked over despite their constant presence in the albums.

  2. Engravings in relation to calligraphy:”In a 1926 study of the Jahangir album pages in Berlin, Ernst Kühnel and Hermann Goetz expressed puzzlement over the pairing of European engravings with specimens of calligraphy. The only explanation they could offer was that Mogul artists and  connoisseurs had mistaken the prints for quill drawings.”

    The incorporation of engravings in relation to calligraphy might have been a fascination in the way the look of engravings made with a burin and a press is similar to the qualities of calligraphy made by qalam, in that they are very much linear.



Useful terms:

The front or face of a single sheet of paper, or the right-hand page of an open book is called the recto. The back or underside of a single sheet of paper, or the left-hand page of an open book is known as the verso.

(Source: The Tate website)

Qalam: a type of pen made from a dried reed, used for Islamic calligraphy

Burin: a handheld steel tool used for engraving in metal or wood