Author: Josh Pereira
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8173052662
The Sacred Architecture of Islam is one of the most prolific traditions of building in the history of art. It is a tradition with four major strand-Arab, Iranian, Turkish and Indian. Historians of architecture have, for many decades, been assiduously examining these strands, so that it is now possible to survey them all panoramically as a cultural phenomenon within the ambit of Muslim civilization. However, the first three strands appear to be separated from the last by what may be called the Hindu Kush barrier. Panoramic surveys of Islamic architecture have frequently been undertaken, but by scholars who seem to be more comfortable with the Arab-Iranian-Turkish complex than with the Indian. The Indo-Muslim monuments appear to baffle them: it is as if the Hindu Kush barrier stood in their way. For these South Asian Structures have a singular character conditioned by the impact of styles that had served the Buddhist stupa and the Hindu temple, styles unfamiliar to most students of Muhammadan architecture. Conversely, historians specializing in Indo-Islamic architecture, and occupied with classifying and interpreting its overwhelming array of edifices, have often lacked the opportunities to acquaint themselves with the monuments west of the Hindu Kush.
The Sacred Architecture of Islam is the work of one who was professionally trained in the history of Indian art and architecture. He has also had the good fortune to travel over much of the Muhammadan world on both sides of the Hindu Kush, and thus has been able to appreciate the major monuments of that world at first hand, and to express that appreciation in the present work. He has also been able to examine in situ the monuments of Europe and Latin America, and to study their impact on Indian architecture. The wide exposure to the monuments of Eurafroasia and America have enabled him, he believes, to straddle the Hindu Kush barrier, and thus to see the sacred architecture of Islam steadily and in totality.