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.



Finbarr Barry Flood

Dr. Finbarr Barry Flood is Professor of the Humanities at the Institute of Fine Arts and College of Arts and Sciences, New York University and the Founder-Director of Silsila: Center for Material Histories, New York University. He received his PhD in Islamic Art History from the University of Edinburgh in 1993 and his B.A. in Archaeology with Mental and Moral Science, from Trinity College, Dublin in 1988. His research interests include art and architecture of the Islamic world, cross-cultural dimensions of Islamic material culture. theories and practices of image-making, and technologies of representation. He is the co-editor of A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, with Gülru Necipoğlu (Harvard University Press, Hoboken, NJ, 2017) and of Globalizing Cultures: Art and Mobility in the Eighteenth Century, with Nebahat Avcioğlu, Ars Orientalis (39, 2011). His other publications include Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval “Hindu-Muslim” Encounter, Princeton University Press, 2009 and Piety and Politics in the Early Indian Mosque, Debates in Indian History and Society, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.


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