Dilrabo Tosheva is an historian and architectural historian specializing in the artistic production of pre-modern Central Asia, Turkic, and Persian cultural spheres. At Yale, she will write her forthcoming book project, En Route to the Taj Mahal: Transformation of Royal Identity and Architecture under the Qarakhanids in Pre-Mongol Central Asia. The Qarakhanid period in Central Asia (999 – 1211 CE) is the least studied among all the Islamic medieval dynastic periods in the field of Islamic art and architectural history. This study focuses on the role of the Qarakhanids in the formation of Islamic architecture in Central Asia and beyond. It aims to unpack the rise and spread of the Qarakhanid leitmotif – Islamic pishtaq, a monumental high façade, one of the most persistent architectural elements of Islam – providing the first theoretical discussion on its social meaning linked to the royal identity construction of the Turkic patrons. Departing from the general surveys and formalist narratives on the formation of the Islamic architecture of Central Asia, this book perceives the built environment as an artifact that uncovers secrets and affirms political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of the Central Asian past.
Dilrabo’s educational background is interdisciplinary, involving training in a diverse array of schools and departments across several continents and countries. She completed her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in History at Bukhara State University in Uzbekistan; her Master of Science degree in Architectural History and Theory at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, USA. In 2022, Dilrabo received her PhD in Architectural History and Theory from the University of Queensland, AU.
EAST 406, HSAR 352
Introduction to Central Asian Art and Architecture
Overview of the art and architecture of Central Asia including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, in addition to Afghanistan and Xinjiang, from the Late Antiquity to the modern day. Examination of artistic, architectural-urban transformations as a reflection of the broader societal and cultural change. Through readings, we challenge ourselves 1) to reconsider some of the prevailing understandings of Central Asian history/art & architectural history and 2) to perceive the built environment as an artifact that uncovers secrets and affirms political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of the human past. Throughout, we focus on interactions across the Eurasian continent among Sogdians, Turks, Persians, Arabs, Chinese, Mongolian nomads, and Russians during the last millennium and a half, to understand how these cultures shaped Central Asian urban landscapes, art, and architectural styles.