SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Trans-cultural Architecture: Identity, Practice and Syncretism in Goa

Mallica Kumbera Landrus (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)

Date: 9 January 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 9 January 2013Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B111

Type of Event: Seminar

In Goa the shifting class, caste, cultural boundaries, political and cultural movements, gave shape to a distinct space in India’s architectural history. Visual culture shaped a European authority and an indigenous population whose ideas and values were embodied by architecture in Goa. One hundred and fifteen churches were built under the Portuguese administration in Goa between 1510 and 1961. This number does not include the vast number of chapels or crosses that also dot the Goan landscape. Although no records regarding early reception of European style churches in Goa have thus far been uncovered, the unique style of temples in the area suggests a trans-cultural identity. My paper will explore churches built under the Portuguese administration as well as European influences that were inducted into Hindu temple architecture from the late seventeenth century onwards: first on the outskirts of Portuguese controlled Goa, and later in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries within Portuguese borders. The Goan temples use European and in some cases Islamic architectural elements to create hybrid structures that express regional identity, social politics, and divergent theologies of the sacred. The Hindu decision to employ these Western architectural elements in an Indian fashion is not unique to Goa, however in Goa we find the first of such trans-cultural Hindu temples in the colonial period. Emptied of their former western meaning, the features are used to fashion a new style in temple building.

Organiser: Crispin Branfoot

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