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Scent in the Islamic Garden: A Study of Literary Sources in Persian and Urdu

-By Ali Akbar Husain

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Book Summary

This work explores literary perceptions of Islamic Indian gardens of the Deccan. The writer employs an understanding of Islamic horticulture and medical botany to explain why scented plants were popular in Islamic cultures. He also makes use of Deccani poetical texts to suggest how Deccani gardens were ornamented with fragrances.

Scent in the Islamic Garden is an interdisciplinary study that bridges across medicine, horticulture, and poetry in Islamic India. It was first published in 2000 and this new edition is much improved with better-quality illustrations and an updated and partially revised text that makes for greater coherence. The introduction by William Dalrymple expresses the perceptions of a writer who is familiar with the region and its history. It also indicates how the work engages the reader. Scent in the Islamic Garden seeks to find relations between cultural values and landscape expression. It does so through particular reference to the significance of fragrance in Islam as understood in medicinal and horticultural texts, and through essential focus on Hyderabad, one of the last bastions of Islamic culture in the Indian subcontinent. The nature-culture question is examined in garden poetry, a genre associated with the Arabo-Persian and Urdu literary tradition and, at Hyderabad, the Deccani Urdu tradition. The study makes clear that Deccani gardens, as gleaned through literary texts, are Persian in inspiration but rooted In India and permeated with the rasas of Indian forests. The idea that scents, by enhancing sensory perception, can be a cue for certain kinds of behaviour in garden settings is also strongly suggested. short..

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Book Details
ISBN-13 9780199062782
Publisher OUP Pakistan
Imprint OUP Pakistan
Number of Pages 302
Publication Date 26042012
Language
Binding Hardback