Deccani Art Across the Ocean: Hoysalas, Kadambas and Medieval Ethiopia
Recent scholarship has highlighted the importance of Indian Ocean trade to the economies and court cultures of the medieval Deccan. Most of this scholarship has focused on contacts with Arabia or the Persian Gulf in the west, or the archipelagos of Indonesia in the east. The possibility of contacts with the eastern coast of Africa has received far less attention; the likelihood of contacts with the highland kingdom of Ethiopia even less so. Yet, medieval Ethiopian art and architecture preserves significant traces of contacts between twelfth-century Ethiopia and south India, including examples of Hoysala and Kadamba art that no longer survive in India. Some of the relevant artifacts may be flotsam from the world of circulation around the Indian Ocean littoral so vividly captured in the Indian letters of Jewish merchants, opening a window onto histories of people and things in motion that continue to resonate even in our own era of globalization.
Prof Barry Flood (Department of Fine Arts of New York University, New York) introduces a new research subject pertaining to the Deccani Art Across the Ocean: Hoysalas, Kadambas and Medieval Ethiopia.
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