RICAS’s Collaboration with Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT (Archnet) and Five Cross Architects

The Research and Information Center for Asian Studies (RICAS) at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia is pleased to announce our collaboration agreement with the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT Libraries (Cambridge, MA, USA) and Five Cross Architects (Mumbai, India). This agreement signed in December 2023 allows our data of Indian historic monuments to be shared on MIT’s Archnet (https://www.archnet.org). 
Our collection of digitized images and metadata is taken from photographs and drawings produced sixty years ago by the Mission for Indian History and Archaeology, University of Tokyo (https://www.ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~islamarc/index.html) and in 2015–18 by the RICAS Resurvey of Delhi Monuments.

The Mission for Indian History and Archaeology was organized as a comprehensive survey of Islamic architecture from the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526) still extant in Delhi. The onsite survey was carried out in 1959–62, and also included key Islamic buildings in the Bengal, Deccan, and Gujarat provinces. Approximately 17,000 photographs still exist of almost 750 Islamic Indian structures – more than 500 in Delhi and over 230 in the provinces. These photographs are an invaluable resource that show us what the buildings looked like circa 1960, after which they may have been destroyed, carelessly repaired, or subsumed in the urban fabric. Further, since more than half of the photographs were carefully shot using large-format cameras, the images convey a wealth of information.

In 2015–18, RICAS conducted two onsite surveys of 385 architectural remains listed in the 1967 publication produced by the Mission. The structures in the original survey were located on recent maps of Delhi and Google Earth, after which the sites were visited and a total of 23,513 digital photographs were taken.

Sharing our data with Archnet ensures that this important material will be preserved even if Tokyo were to be impacted by an earthquake or other natural disaster. It also gives us great pleasure to know that the data will be accessible to researchers around the world. We take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to Adil Dholakia, Director of Five Cross Architects, and to Shiraz Alibhai, Matt Saba, and Michael A. Toler from Archnet. We must also thank Naoko Fukami, Director of Cairo Research Station, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, who played the leading role in digitalizing the photo documents of 1959–62 and in conducting the 2015–18 surveys; since 1998, she has contributed her profound knowledge of the monuments to this project.

Please keep an eye out for future developments.



                                                                                                                                          Tomoko Masuya, Professor
                                                                                Research and Information Center for Asian Studies