Thursday, October 26, 2023 - 12:00pm
Rosenkranz Hall 202 (115 Prospect Street)
This talk will be based on my book project, “En Route to the Taj Mahal: Transformation of Architecture and Royal Identity under the Qarakhanids in Pre-Mongol Central Asia.” It explores how the Islamic façade (aka pishtaq) –one of the most spectacular and persistent architectural elements of Islam – opens the window to understanding Central Asian cultural history and society. Pishtaq was a monumental high façade, lavishly decorated with Arabic inscriptions, geometric and floral patterns around a central door, the earliest and many instances of which were found in funerary structures. Emerging locally in medieval Central Asia, this element in regional architecture proved to be far-reaching and long-lasting – pishtaq radiated outward to influence the architecture of the broader Islamic world and is in use with a new zeal in its homeland. An important architectural element, its origin was debated among Soviet scholars mainly from materialist perspective; in the West, pishtaq was almost entirely overlooked by scholars researching Islamic architectural history. Part architectural history and part introduction to the cultural history of Muslim Central Asia, the book sheds light on the extent to which pishtaq is inextricably intertwined with the medieval concept of royal Turkic identity and explores how pishtaq was used to advertise and display the ruling elite’s faith and status. Mapping the earliest instances of pishtaq and focusing on the epigraphy of several Qarakhanid-era (999-1212 CE) buildings, literary and numismatic sources, Islamic façade in commemorative architecture was a constructed architectural expression reflecting the new Turko-Muslim identity emanating from the competition between Central Asian dynasties happening at the intersection of ideological debates over the interpretation of past and present.
Dilrabo Tosheva is an historian and architectural historian specializing in the artistic production of pre-modern Central Asia, Turkic, and Persian cultural spheres. At Yale, she will write her forthcoming book project, En Route to the Taj Mahal: Transformation of Royal Identity and Architecture under the Qarakhanids in Pre-Mongol Central Asia. Dilrabo’s educational background is interdisciplinary, involving training in a diverse array of schools and departments across several continents and countries. She completed her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in History at Bukhara State University in Uzbekistan; her Master of Science degree in Architectural History and Theory at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, USA. In 2022, Dilrabo received her Ph.D. in Architectural History and Theory from the University of Queensland, AU.
Dilrabo Tosheva - Postdoctoral Associate in Central Asian Studies and Lecturer in History of Art