The project is originally inspired by the coeval composition of two religious works: The Rose Garden of Love by the Sufi poet Mullah Nusrati (Bijapur 1658), and The Garden of Shepherds of the Jesuit Miguel de Almeida (Goa 1658). Both writings, although belonging to different religious environments, represent doctrinal codifications of conceptual gardens sharing several allegorical elements widely diffused in the artistic and literary traditions of Islamic and Christian South Asia.
The research focuses on two groups of artworks connected to these religious writings: the illustrated folios of the Rose Garden of Love, and the ivory statuettes of the Good Shepherd Rockery from Portuguese India. The artworks are analysed according to their mutual artistic and intellectual entanglements and their role in defining the political and religious scenario of Portuguese India and Islamic Deccan.
The research, which employs a transdisciplinary approach based on Global Art History, Global Historiography, Post-Colonial and Cultural Studies, will help to outline alternative pathways of investigation across diverse artistic, doctrinal and political backgrounds by assuming the artworks under investigation as specular viewpoints of a wider itinerary into the early modern arts of the Indian Ocean.