Qutb Minar … Another enormous reminder of how little I know about India and its architecture

January 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

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There are enough images of the giant column that is the actual Qutb Minar. Perhaps the most interesting thing for me to see here was how the spolia (though I don’t know if it counts as ‘spolia’ if it exists in or close to its original location) was used throughout the complex. It is most obvious in the court surrounding the iron pillar, where intricately carved columns (clearly originally belonging to the complex of 27 Jain and Hindu temples that used to occupy the site) are assembled to form a hall. Though much of the detail of the bodies of the hindu gods remain, each of their faces have been carefully removed. Like miniature versions of the Buddhas of Bhamiyan—when it was only defaced and before they were just completely blown to smithereens. It is difficult to say when these defacements actually happened. These erasures could have been as ancient as the Qutb, or they could be a reflection of more recent fanaticism. I’ll be curious to find out.

Reminder to self: read what Barry Flood has to say about this.

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