I bought these bookends simply because I thought they were beautiful—and I had never seen a similar pair before. A little research has yielded quite a lot about the Indo-Saracenic Revival, after which these were modeled.
“Indo” usually denotes “of Indian provenance or influence.” “Saracenic” is from a Latin term, coined by the Romans, which initially referred to non-Arabs living in and around the Arabian Peninsula. In time, the term Saracenic broadened to include all Muslims or Arabs as a group. When put together, “Indo-Saracenic” usually refers to a type of Victorian English architecture (and design) executed by the British in Colonial India (and, later, Malaysia).
The style was a theatrical hybrid of Indian and Islamic or Turkic motifs, blended with a dash of the Victorian English Gothic Revival. It expressed a sort of romantic Orientalism favored by the British and they left a trail of such architecture in many of the warm-climate cities which they colonized—New Delhi, Bombay (now Mumbai), Madras (now Chennai), Karachi, Lahore, Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur.
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