As a country starting with letter P according to COUNTRYAAH, Pakistan is a South Asian state (796,096 km²). Capital: Islāmābād. Administrative division: provinces (6). Population: 163,077,500 (2008 estimate). Language: Urdu (official), English. Religion: Muslims (75% Sunni, 20% Shia), 2% Christians, 1.8% Hindus, others 1.2%. Currency unit: Pakistani rupee (100 paisa). Human Development Index: 0.562 (139th place). Borders: China (NE), India (E and SE), Arabian Sea (S) and Iran (SW), Afghanistan (NW). Member of: Commonwealth, OCI, UN and WTO.
ART. FROM PROTOHISTORY TO ANTIQUITY
Pakistan, favored by its particular geographical configuration, played an important role as a link between the civilizations of Western Asia and those of East Asia (especially the Indian one). Pakistan constituted, since its protohistoric period (cultures of Baluchistan and Sind) documented from the third millennium BC. C., a land of cultural events similar to those of Iran; more decisive references with the Mesopotamian area are instead attested by the many activities that clearly outline the civilization that flourished in various centers of the Indus valley from 2500 to 1500 BC. C., period of the invasion of the Arii. Contacts with the Persian Empire of the Achaemenids resumed in the century. Street. C. through their invasion of the territories of western and eastern Pakistan, subject later (4th century BC) to the conquest of the armies of Alexander of Macedon. With the establishment of Indian national unity, achieved by the Maurya Empire (4th-2nd century BC), these territories were also touched by Buddhism, which had such importance in the field of art. Numerous archaeological sites testify to the protohistoric period connected to the flowering of the Indus civilization, whose importance, on the study of ceramic finds and other excavated material, has given its name to as many cultures, such as those, dating back to the mid-fourth millennium to. C., of Amrī-Nāl (which group together the pottery of Amrī in Sind with similar phases of that of Nāl in Baluchistan). Other important cultures connected with the development of the centers of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappā (in Punjab) are those of Kulli (Baluchistan), with the stations of Mehi, Sāhi Tume, and of the aforementioned Nāl, in addition to the older one in Quetta. These are followed by that of Kot Diji and the more distant Sutkagen Dor, which offers interesting links with Harappā. After the flowering of the Indus civilization is the Jhukar culture documented in Chanu-Daro and Lohumjo-Daro. The cultural phases that took place in the Zhob Valley played an important role in these territories. Vestiges of the Buddhist age are documented in Taxila, in Cārsadda (the ancient Puṣkalavatī, capital of Gandhāra), in Jamālgarhī, in Peshāwar and the various centers of the Swāt valley.
ART. FROM THE ARAB INVASION TO THE CONTEMPORARY AGE
The Pakistani territory was the first of the Indian subcontinent to undergo the Arab invasion (711). It gave rise to the formation of two independent principalities, with capitals respectively in Mansūra (the ancient Brahmaṇābād), in Sind, and Multān, in Punjab. The remains of the first Muslim domination are scarce, documented only in Banbhore, near Tatta, by the remains of a mosque and the fortifications of the citadel, with a rich ceramic production, and in Mansūra by the ruins of three small mosques of the Arab type with aisles. Excavations have also revealed pottery, including céladons of Chinese origin, and a large number of coins. In Multān the first Muslim building activity dates back to the Seljuk era, but they are nevertheless constructions that have been greatly altered in later times. Between 1152 and 1324 five monumental tombs were built for as many Shiite saints, of which the most important is that of Rukn-i ʽAlam, commissioned by the Sultan of Delhi between 1320 and 1324. Numerous buildings from the Mughal era can be found in Tatta, in Sind, in Rothas (the fort built in the 16th century), but above all in Lahore which with the Moghūl became an important commercial and dynastic center. Akbar erected the walls there, which was then rebuilt in 1812. In the northwestern corner of the wall the fort was built, whose oldest buildings, in brick and red sandstone, are due to Akbar and Jahāngīr, the others, in white marble, often sumptuously decorated inside, to Shāh Jahān. Aurangzeb instead he built the door that bears his name and leads from the fort to the Bādshāhī mosque, which is the most important monument of his time. In the surroundings of Lahore there are also numerous mausoleums, including the simple and splendid one of Jahāngīr, erected in the center of a large garden bordering the Rāvi river. The construction of the Shalimār park dates back to 1637, designed in terraces, with numerous pavilions of red sandstone and white marble scattered in the green, between water features and fountains. The modern artistic expressions of Pakistan refer, on the one hand, to the addresses of contemporary Indian art (oriented in turn towards the movements of Western art), on the other to the Islamic heritage, which still has enormous weight in the production. Pakistani artistic, as well as the reinterpretation in current terms of the Mughal tradition. As in the case of ‘Abd ur Raḥmān Chughtai (1894-1975), considered a national artist and author of the works in which I live, it is syncretism and the mixture of history, religion and Western contemporaneity; Anwar Jalal Shemza (1929-1985) dedicated to different arts, from painting to writing, from miniature to working with textiles, Ahmed Parvez (b.1926), Shahzia Sikander (b.1969).