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Objectifying the Occult: Studying an Islamic Talismanic Shirt as an Embodied Object

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Islamic talismanic shirts from pre-Mughal South Asia form a stylistically cohesive subset within the larger corpus of Islamic talismanic shirts from the patrimonial-bureaucratic period. These objects have eluded sustained study due, in large part, to their wide geographical purview and dissimilarity from other period textiles. While these objects bear some similarities with talismans of smaller shape and disparate media, their form as garments has yet to be considered as integral to their function. In analyzing one of these South Asian shirts, from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, parallels between the arts of the book and the construction of armor highlight the apotropaic function of Koranic text when placed on the human body.Les chemises talismaniques islamiques de l’Asie du Sud pré-moghole forment un sous-ensemble stylistiquement cohérent dans le corpus plus large des chemises talismaniques islamiques de la période patrimoniale-bureaucratique. Ces objets ont échappé à une étude substantielle en raison, en grande partie, de leur vaste dispersion géographique et de leur différence par rapport aux autres textiles de la même époque. Bien que ces objets présentent des similitudes avec des talismans de forme plus petite et de support différent, leur forme de vêtement n’a pas encore été considérée comme faisant partie intégrante de leur fonction. En analysant l’une de ces chemises sud-asiatiques, du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Virginie, les parallèles entre les arts du livre et la construction de l’armure mettent l’accent sur la fonction apotropaïque du texte coranique lorsqu’il est placé sur le corps humain.This article is in English.

Affiliations: 1: University of Delaware rose.evelynm@gmail.com

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/content/journals/10.1163/15700585-12341464
2017-09-13
2017-12-13

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