Benutzerspezifische Werkzeuge


Broken mirrors

The "exotic" Europe and the buildings of the Nawabs of Oudh

English abstract


The article describes a double, distorted and eventually tragic perception of architecture between Europe and India: In the city of Lucknow in Northern Indian several large building-complexes were designed in European-classicist style from 1780 to 1856, commissioned by the Indo-Islamic rulers of the city. These buildings became the object of a very sharp architectural criticism from Europe in the course of the Indian revolution against British rule of 1857/ 1858. Lucknow was one of the "hot spots" of this military struggle.

The first section of this paper - "The own and the alien" - reviews the European reception of these classicist buildings which for decades by Western critics has been linked with a political interpretation of the Indian uprising. The second part - "copy synthesis" - is looking for the reasons of the wide and sympathetic use of European-classicist architecture in Lucknow before the Indian uprising and analyses some details of the negative European criticism afterwards. In short: the use and understanding of architectural models by the Indo-Islamic builders of Lucknow turn out to be very different than the categories of their European critics. The Lucknow Indo-European architects achieved an original  integration of European forms into their own tradition which was closely linked with court-life and representation. The Indo-Islamic rulers of Lucknow could use classicist forms as a modern and neutral demonstration of princely grandeur in front of their Muslim and Hindu subjects without openly sticking to a certain Muslim and Hindu architectural tradition. The integration of European styles in architecture is also associated with the playful and variegated court life of the Nawab rulers which assembled architectural motives from all over the world in their projects - a phenomenon which also can be found in Europe in the princely gardens of the 18th century. European later 19th century critics, however, followed a new paradigm of architectural form which idealized the purity of style and condemned hybrid inventions with far-reaching moral judgements.

back to article



Jedermann darf dieses Werk unter den Bedingungen der Digital Peer Publishing Lizenz elektronisch über­mitteln und zum Download bereit­stellen. Der Lizenztext ist im Internet unter der Adresse abrufbar.


erstellt von Karl R. Kegler zuletzt verändert: 09.05.2009 11:27