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Lost In Translation: Architecture, Taxonomy, And The Eastern "Turks"

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Chapter Summary

No less than the emergent Turkic polities of medieval Anatolia, the Ghaznavid and Ghurid sultanates of Afghanistan and northern India and the Delhi sultanate that followed in their wake were caught between multiple worlds. Comparisons between Turkic expansion into Anatolia and into India during the eleventh, twelfth, and early thirteenth centuries are common. The first brief descriptions of Ghaznavid architecture in Afghanistan were published in the early decades of the nineteenth century, appearing contemporaneously with the earliest studies on the Umayyad, Mamluk, and Nasrid architecture of the southern Mediterranean. This coincidence reflects the increased possibilities for first-hand observation of medieval Islamic monuments afforded by European colonial adventures in both regions. Despite the posited relationship to Iranian or Turkic architecture, the Indian monuments of the eastern Turks remained on the periphery both conceptually and geographically, their treatment more circumspect than that of their Iranian or Central Asian counterparts.

Keywords: Afghanistan; eastern Turks; European colonial adventures; Ghaznavid architecture; Ghurid sultanate; Iranian architecture; medieval Anatolia; medieval Islamic monuments; northern India



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