Thursday, December 29, 2011


As is so often the case, it doesn’t take grand designs to represent the real charm of religious art.  Here in Bangladesh, few pieces, perhaps, better represent the art of the liberal Muslim majority of this secular country than this charming minaret.

A wayside mosque in Ruhitpur Bazar, a small community south of Dhaka, surrounded by Hindu temples and grand palaces and mansions, this work arrests the attention of any, even half vigilant, passer-by.

It is interesting to wonder about the influences on the decoration of this simple adjunct to the town centre mosque. Local palaces, rich in ceramic mosaics from mid-18th Century, when the clearly South East Asia inspired work arrived in Zaminder palaces, and nearby Nawabganj has more than its fair share of such embellishment of fine neo classical facades, but for the floral garlands of this minaret no inspiration springs immediately to mind.

A real treat for the eye, and the mind, far removed from those gloomy Taliban inspired images of contemporary Islam!

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