Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

3 - Trans-national Flow of Shia Iconography in the Sufi Shrines of India and Pakistan

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Amaltas, Lower Ground Floor

Some researchers reading the popular poster art of South Asian Muslims have tried to demarcate between Shia and Sunni iconography as if these are produced for and revered by two different sets of people. For instance, the images of local Sufi shrines, such as that in Ajmer, Rajasthan, are assumed to be catering to Sunni whereas the symbols of Karbala and Imam Hussain or Ali are associated only to Shias. But in reality, there is not only a circularity of icons between the two sects, the images of Shia imams, martyrs and their shrines have also been used by many Sunnis, especially in rural South Asia. Some of these images, especially the portraits of the 12 imams or other figurative portraits associated with Karbala, have been imported into South Asia from the Iranian visual sphere, even though the local-style symbols of Duldul (horse) and Karbala battleground have also existed in public spheres such as Sufi shrine wall frescos. This presentation looks at the flow of symbols and art styles between India and larger Islamic world.



Yousef Saeed

Independent Scholar, India

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3 - Trans-national Flow of Shia Iconography in the Sufi Shrines of India and Pakistan



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