The Iconography of Devotion in Muslim South Asia

February 27 Tuesday, 4:30pm | Oakley Center

Join artist and art historian Murad Khan Mumtaz and historian Aparna Kapadia as they discuss the importance of recovering Indo-Muslim visual and literary culture at a time when the Indian government is actively erasing this history from the national consciousness. In particular, the discussion will focus on early modern Muslim South Asia. Islamic art is often misrepresented as an iconophobic tradition. As a result of this assumption, the polyvalence of figural artworks made for Hindustan’s Muslim audiences has remained hidden in plain view. By combining an art historical survey with an analysis of primary Indo-Persian literature, Murad’s research has shown how figurative painting was intimately linked to a unique Indo-Muslim religious expression that had a wide circulation across South Asia.

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Murad Mumtaz

Murad Khan Mumtaz is an assistant professor of art history at Williams College. He examines historical intersections of art, literature and religious expression in South Asia, with a primary focus on Indo-Muslim patronage. By combining art history with textual analysis, his recent book, Faces of God: Images of Devotion in Indo-Muslim Painting (Brill, 2023), examines the cultural contexts within which these Islamicate images of devotion were made and viewed. Murad is also an artist trained in traditional Hindustani painting techniques, and continues to exhibit his work internationally.

Aparna Kapadia

Aparna Kapadia is Associate Professor of History at Williams College. She writes about the history of Gujarat and western India, and the cultural and intellectual history of early modern and modern South Asia. Aparna’s monograph In Praise of Kings: Rajputs, Sultans and Poets in Fifteenth-century Gujarat was published by University of California Press in 2018 and she is a regular columnist for