A lecture by Hassan Taimoor Khan Mumtaz
An Exploration of Mughal Architectural Proportioning Methods
This lecture will explore the close similarities between proportion and harmony in music and in architecture, particularly Mughal architecture. It will show how the arithmetic and geometric proportions and relations underlying music (and indeed the very physics of sound) are closely akin to the tools which the classical Muslim architects used to make their buildings harmonious and beautiful. Moreover, it will show how these proportions and relationships have come to embody an ideal, universal harmony in the created world that reflects a heavenly order of perfection.
The Ikhwan–as-Safa (The Brethern of Purity) stated, ‘One of the aims of our treatise on music consists of demonstrating clearly that the whole world is composed in conformity with arithmetical, geometrical and musical relations. There, we have explained in detail the reality of universal harmony.’ And Imam Ghazali wrote ‘….the transcendent world is the world of loveliness and beauty, and the source of loveliness and beauty is harmony (tanasub).’ While this illustrated lecture will focus on musical and architectural harmonies reflecting transcendent, heavenly beauty, it will also show how these external, worldly harmonies can remind human beings of their potential for inner harmony – humans being microcosmic mirrors of the Divine.
This lecture is made possible by the generous support of the Bagri Foundation to expand our Asian arts offering.
Hassan Taimoor Khan Mumtaz is a senior architect at Kamil Khan Mumtaz Architects. He graduated in architecture from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 1994 and holds an MA in South Asian Design & Architecture from De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (1999).
He is the founding director of Hast-o-Neest – Institute of Traditional Studies & Arts — in Lahore, which promotes the research and study of traditional art and culture. It aims to widen and deepen understanding of traditional thought including Sufi doctrine and methods, traditional philosophy, metaphysics and cosmology, as well as teach arts such as calligraphy, miniature painting, classical music and architecture.
At Hast-o-Neest the focus is on the Islamic concept of ihsan — doing things beautifully. In the traditional Islamic worldview beauty (jamal) is an aspect of the Creator and is seen as an essential aspect of His creation. By extension it becomes an important aspect of everything one does or creates, including art and craft.