Report of Vivek Gupta, Assistant Curator/Fellow for Islamic and South Asian Coins
October 29, 2016
I was hired in June 2016 for a yearlong appointment as Assistant Curator/Fellow for Islamic and South Asian Coins. My main task has been to make adjustments to the database capturing the breadth and depth of our holdings, nearly a quarter of the ANS’s overall holdings (over 100k objects; 60k Islamic and 47k South Asian). This involves modifying information to make the database more searchable and working on the level of individual coins that have been shown in recent exhibitions and featured in research. Inscriptions will now be in Islamic or Indic scripts as appropriate.
The ANS has been a center for Islamic and South Asian coinage with curators who have set the standard for the field. I published an article in the ANS Magazine drawing attention to George Miles’s work and legacy, especially in light of the recent Seljuq exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I have also been inspired by OCRE (Online Coins of the Roman Empire) to develop a similar platform for Mughal coinage. This has involved creating Nomisma identifications (global data points) for new locations and collaborating with our photographer to ensure the accurate documentation of these works. Related to the ANS’s Indo-Islamic coinage, I have organized a lecture at the ANS on May 1, 2017, with Professor Phillip Wagoner (Wesleyan University) and Finbarr Barry Flood (NYU, Institute of Fine Arts) as the respondent.
To highlight the extent of the ANS’s Islamic holdings, I have conceived of a catalogue and exhibition project provisionally entitled Light and Weight: Imitation and the Itineraries of Islamic Glass. There are approximately 5,500 Islamic glass objects in the ANS’s collection that shed light on broader issues on material culture and scientific innovation of the Islamic world.
Publications and Lectures:
“The Deccan Watershed: Numismatic Potentials for Peninsular India,” ANS Magazine (2016, Issue 4)
“Revisiting The Numismatic History of Rayy by George Miles and a Tradition of Islamic Coinage at the ANS,” ANS Magazine (2016, Issue 3)
Accepted peer-reviewed article, “Interpreting the Eye (‘ain): Poetry and Painting in the Shrine of Aḥmad Shāh al- Walī al-Bahmanī (r. 1422–1436)”
Accepted peer-reviewed article, “The Voice of the Indian Cuckoo in Arabic: The Adaptive Capacity of Ghulām ‘Alī “Āzād” Bilgrāmī’s (d. 1786) Poetics”
Forthcoming multi-book review: “Intersections in South Asian Cultural History”
Invited presentation: “Splendor of the City, ‘Nagarshobha’: Objects in Motion from Mughal Burhanpur,” The Art and Culture of Mughal India, The K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai (January 7, 8, 2017)
Invited lecture series: “Word and Image from the Deccan to Mughal Courts: Indo-Islamic Aesthetics, ca. 1400– 1800,” Jnanapravaha, Mumbai (January 4, 5, 6, 2017)
Conference participation: “Interpreting the Eye (‘ain): Poetry and Painting in the Shrine of Aḥmad Shāh al-Walī al-Bahmanī (r. 1422-36),” Historians of Islamic Art Association Majlis at MESA, (November 17, 2016)
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