18 February, 2012

Book Launch: ‘Wazir Khan Mosque Rediscovered’

Sana Jamal 
Book cover.

Islamabad – Pakistan’s treasured Wazir Khan Mosque has enchanted and inspired many by its mere magnificent look, but the latest comprehensive documentation on the Mosque is yet to charm the art lovers. The innovative book “Wazir Khan Mosque Rediscovered”, by Mamoona Khan was launched here on Friday at National Art Gallery in the presence of Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Dr Shaukat Mahmood, Prof Jamila Zaidi and Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Representative of UNESCO. 

“It is for the first time that inscriptions bedecking the mosque are fully documented in this book including calligraphic styles, motifs, and designs with thorough analysis.” The book also focuses on the undercurrents of rhythm and orderliness, the hallmark of Muslim ornamental designs which lies in geometry, the epitome of which is Golden Ratio. “It highlights that Muslim artists did not limit themselves to the usual frame of decorating but keen observation deciphered the role of science as the guiding principle of the Muslim adornments” explained the author.

Interior of the Mosque.
Photo Courtesy: Jawad Zakariya
The launching ceremony of the book turned into a scientific deliberation with author’s multimedia presentation on the Mosque’s floral and geometric designs and presence of the notable scientist, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand. “The laborious in depth study of the author confirms that integration of various subjects including Geometry, Mathematics and Chemistry led to the creation of Pakistan’s cherished heritage site” observed Dr. Samar. Highlighting the significance of heritage sites, he said: “Pakistan’s cultural and heritage sites demonstrate a unique culture that combines Aryan, Greek, Hindu, Buddhist, Mughal cultures,” and proper protection of Pakistan’s heritage sites can help boost tourist arrival and earnings. 

“Documentation and preservation of heritage is connected to tourism” remarked Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, adding that “Pakistan has rich cultural heritage but unfortunately there is little progress on documentation of cultural sites.” Congratulating the author, she termed the launch of the book, “a success story.” She, however, refrained from commenting on the contents of the book, as she could not receive the copy of the book, Ms Nagata reiterated.

Dr Shaukat Mahmood, also the mentor of the author described the publisher’s journey in a rather amusing way. “It was a small project of Lok Virsa, which eventually evolved as a Doctoral dissertation and is now available in the form of a beautiful book” he explained. “While reading the book, I felt I was literally present in Wazir Khan Mosque trying to comprehend the intricate calligraphic styles and relishing the beautiful central arch of the mosque,” said Prof Jamila Zaidi expressing her feelings after going through the book. The book focuses on the ornamentation of Wazir Khan Mosque, a Mughal edifice of Shahjahan’s period and a fine specimen of the Muslim architectonic decorations. Chiniot-born Hakeem Aleemuddin Ansari, known as Nawab Wazir Khan, had laid its foundation stone in 1634 and its construction was completed in 1635.

Wazir Khan Mosque - the cherished landmark of Pakistan. Courtesy: Google Images.