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The first object created by God, according to early Muslim commentators, was the pen, which he used to chronicle events to come. The word, in its various manifestations, is central to the Islamic faith. Surely a reflection of this centrality, profuse inscriptions mark countless Islamic objects, from the humblest oil lamps and unglazed ceramics to the finest and most expensive rock crystals and jades. The inscriptions serve numerous functions: decorating, proclaiming ownership and patronage, proffering good wishes and proverbs, and spreading religious texts throughout the world. Aside from their aesthetic worth, these inscriptions provide a fascinating window onto a distant culture.
In Islamic Inscriptions, Sheila S. Blair a wealth of stunning images and incisive commentary, while also providing the newcomer to Islamic civilization with a key to unlocking the mysteries of Islamic epigraphy. In addition to chapters devoted to the main types of inscription, detailing the development of their content and style, inscriptive techniques, and the motivations behind them, the book provides practical knowledge on finding, identifying, interpreting, researching, and recording inscriptions. The variety and clarity of information presented makes Islamic Inscriptions an ideal reference for historians, curators, archaeologists, and collectors.
Virtually all the masterpieces of Islamic art-the Alhambra, the Taj Mahal, and the Tahmasp Shahnama-were produced during the period from the Mongol conquests in the early thirteenth century to the advent of European colonial rule in the nineteenth. This beautiful book surveys the architecture and arts of the traditional Islamic lands during this era. Conceived as a sequel to The Art and Architecture of Islam: 650-1250, by Richard Ettinghausen and Oleg Grabar, the book follows the general format of the first volume, with chronological and regional divisions and architecture treated separately from the other arts. The authors describe over two hundred works of Islamic art of this period and also investigate broader social and economic contexts, considering such topics as function, patronage, and meaning. They discuss, for example, how the universal caliphs of the first six centuries gave way to regional rulers and how, in this new world order, Iranian forms, techniques, and motifs played a dominant role in the artistic life of most of the Muslim world; the one exception was the Maghrib, an area protected from the full brunt of the Mongol invasions, where traditional models continued to inspire artists and patrons. By the sixteenth century, say the authors, the eastern Mediterranean under the Ottomans and the area of northern India under the Mughals had become more powerful, and the Iranian models of early Ottoman and Mughal art gradually gave way to distinct regional and imperial styles. The authors conclude with a provocative essay on the varied legacies of Islamic art in Europe and the Islamic lands in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
"Islamic art" can be a challenging term in an ever-changing art world. Through the exploration of a wide array of media-from painting, sculpture, and photography to video and multimedia-an internationally renowned group of scholars, collectors, artists, and curators tackles questions such as whether the art has to come from the Middle East, whether it must have a religious component, and, indeed, whether the work of art must be made by a Muslim. Based on a series of papers presented at the 7th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art in 2017, the essays in this volume grapple with these questions from a range of viewpoints. Taken together, these texts, including beautiful illustrations of major works by contemporary artists from the Muslim world, invoke a lively discussion of how the arts of the Islamic lands link the past with the present and the future.
Considered by Muslims as the only true art, calligraphy has played a prominent role in Islamic culture since the time of the prophet Muhammad. Exploring this central role of the written word in Islam and how writing practices have evolved and adapted in different historical contexts, this book provides an overview of the enormous impact that writing in Arabic script has had on the visual arts of the Islamic world. Approaching the topic from a number of different perspectives, the essays in this volume include discussions on the relationship between orality and the written word; the materiality of the written word, ranging from the type of paper on which books were written to monumental inscriptions in stone and brick; and the development of Arabic typography and the printed book. Generously illustrated, By the Pen and What They Write is an engaging look at how writing has remained a foundational component of Islamic art throughout fourteen centuries.
The Qur'an makes rich references to light, tying it to revelation, and light consequently permeates the culture and visual arts of the Islamic lands. God Is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth explores the integral role of light in Islamic civilization across a wide range of media, from the Qur'an and literature to buildings, paintings, performances, photography, and other works produced over the past 14 centuries. A team of international experts conveys current scholarship on Islamic art in a manner that is engaging and accessible to the general reader. The objects discussed include some of the first identifiable works of Islamic art-modest oil lamps inscribed in Arabic, which developed into elaborately decorated metal and glass lamps and chandeliers. Later, photography, which creates images with light, was readily adopted in Islamic lands, and it continues to provide inspiration for contemporary artists. Generously illustrated with specially commissioned, sumptuous color photographs, this book shows the potential of light to reveal color, form, and meaning.
Greater Iranian arts from the 10th to the 16th century are technically some of the finest produced anywhere. They are also intellectually engaging, showing the lively interaction between the verbal and the visual arts. Focusing on objects found in the main media at the time, Sheila S. Blair shows how artisans played with form, material and decoration to engage their audiences. She also shows how the reception of these objects has changed and that their present context has implications for our understanding of the past.
'Sheila S. Blair is a seasoned author with an excellent track record in publishing both specialised and general books on Islamic art. Indeed she is an undisputed star in her field.' - Professor Robert Hillenbrand, University of Edinburgh
'I can think of no one more qualified to produce such a volume She is a recognised and highly-regarded expert in the field..' - Professor W. M. Thackston, Harvard University
This stunning book is an important contribution to a key area of non-western art, being the first reference work on art of beautiful writing in Arabic script.
The extensive use of writing is a hallmark of Islamic civilization. Calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, became one of the main methods of artistic expression from the seventh century to the present in almost all regions from the far Maghrib, or Islamic West, to India and beyond. Arabic script was adopted for other languages from Persian and Turkish to Kanembu and Malay. Sheila Blair's groundbreaking book explains this art form to modern readers and shows them how to identify, understand and appreciate its varied styles and modes. The book is designed to offer a standardized terminology for identifying and describing various styles of Islamic calligraphy, and to help Westerners appreciate why calligraphy has long been so important in Islamic civilization.
The argument is enhanced by the inclusion of more than 150 colour illustrations, as well as over 100 black-and-white details that highlight the salient features of the individual scripts and hands. Examples are chosen from dated or datable examples with secure provenance, for the problem of forgeries and copies (both medieval and modern) is rampant. Theillustrations are accompanied by detailed analyses telling the reader what to look for in determining both style and quality of script.
This beautiful book is an ideal reference for anyone with an interest in Islamic art.
Winner of the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize 2007.
The Collection owns a section of what is, without doubt, one of the most important illustrated medieval manuscripts from either East or West. The Jami` al-tawarikh or `Compendium of Chronicles' was written by the 14th-century court historian Rashid al-Din, under the patronage of the Ilkhanids. The 59 folios in the Collection - reproduced here in colour for the first time after their recent restoration - together with those in the Edinburgh University Library, form a fragment of the earliest surviving Arabic copy of the work. An appendix in this volume reintegrates these folios and reconstructs their original order. The author discusses the identity and techniques of the calligraphers and painters involved, analyses the sources for the illustrations, and reveals the importance of this manuscript in the history of the Persian book. The author also traces the manuscript's journey from Rashid al-Din's scriptorium in Tabriz, through Timurid Herat, through the 19th-century Mughal court and the East India Company, to its acquisition by the Royal Asiatic Society. The volume also includes a translation by W.M. Thackston of the articles of endowment of the Rabi' Rashidi.
Emile Prisse d'Avennes (1807-1879), a French Orientalist, author, and artist, was one of the greatest pre-20th-century Egyptologists. As a youth he dreamed of exploring the Orient and at 19 began traveling to Greece, India, and Palestine. Over the next 40 years he explored Syria, Arabia, Persia, and also spent long periods living in Egypt and Algeria. Having converted to Islam, he traveled under the Arabic name Idris Effendi. With a keen eye for the symmetry, opulence, and complexity of local visual cultures, Prisse d'Avennes recorded the art and architecture which he encountered on his travels. His work would later become one of the most outstanding surveys on Islamic art and architecture, with Arab Art (L'Art arabe d'apres les monuments du Kaire) being published between 1869 and 1877 in Paris. This TASCHEN edition revives Prisse d'Avennes's magisterial chromolithograph survey in all its attention to detail, as well as to historical, social, and religious contexts. For further situational understanding, it includes his supplementary studies of the people and costumes of the Nile Valley, which he published in the Oriental Album (Oriental Album: Characters, Costumes, and Modes of Life, the Valley of the Nile, London, 1848). It is a precious record not only of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman heritage but also of the history of thought and imagination between Europe and the Middle East. About the series Bibliotheca Universalis - Compact cultural companions celebrating the eclectic TASCHEN universe!
A survey of 15th and 16th century illustrated copies of Nizami's Khamsah and of a collection of detached paintings and album leaves from Iran and Ottoman Turkey. Professor J.M. Rogers is a Fellow of the British Academy; Honorary Curator of the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, London, and a member of its editorial board; former Deputy Keeper in the Department of Oriental Antiquities in charge of Islam at the British Museum, London; and former Nasser D. Khalili Professor of Islamic Art and Archaeology in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has worked extensively on the decorative arts, especially painting, of the Timurid, Ottoman and Safavid periods. Manijeh Bayani received her degree in art and archaeology from Tehran University. A specialist in Arabic and Persian epigraphy, Manijeh has made important contributions to most of the catalogues in the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art series.
Joint Winner of the 2007 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize for Middle Eastern Studies This stunning book is an important contribution to a key area of non-western art, being the first reference work on the art of beautiful writing in Arabic script. The extensive use of writing is a hallmark of Islamic civilization. Calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, became one of the main methods of artistic expression from the seventh century to the present in almost all regions from the far Maghrib, or Islamic West, to India and beyond. Arabic script was adopted for other languages from Persian and Turkish to Kanembu and Malay. Sheila S. Blair's groundbreaking book explains this art form to modern readers and shows them how to identify, understand and appreciate its varied styles and modes. The book is designed to offer a standardized terminology for identifying and describing various styles of Islamic calligraphy and to help Westerners appreciate why calligraphy has long been so important in Islamic civilization. The argument is enhanced by the inclusion of more than 150 colour illustrations, as well as over a hundred black-and-white details that highlight the salient features of the individual scripts and hands. Examples are chosen from dated or datable examples with secure provenance, for the problem of forgeries and copies (both medieval and modern) is rampant. The illustrations are accompanied by detailed analyses telling the reader what to look for in determining both style and quality of script. This beautiful new book is an ideal reference for anyone with an interest in Islamic art. Key Features * Written by the world's leading expert on Islamic calligraphy * Includes c.150 colour illustrations * Comprehensive: covers the art of calligraphy throughout Islamic civilisation, from the 7thc. to the present * The first volume to explain this art form to modern readers, guiding them in the identification, understanding and appreciation of its varied style and modes
The Islamic world, spanning centuries and far-flung regions, is renowned for its diverse cultural and artistic traditions. This sumptuous book delves into that vast creative output, examining a dozen exquisite objects in the Museum of Islamic Art, in Doha, Qatar, designed by the Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei and opened in 2008. Twelve prominent scholars from across the globe select works representing various centers of Islamic life, from early Spain to 17th-century India, as well as a range of media including textiles, ceramics, metalwork, and miniature paintings. Authoritative texts put the objects into context, exploring the relationships to those people who produced and lived among them. In addition, architectural critic Paul Goldberger discusses the museum, assessing its place in Pei's career and in the broader scope of Islamic architecture, while Oliver Watson, the museum's former director, sheds light on the installation of works throughout the building.
30,000 Years of Art presents 1000 great works of art from all periods and regions in the world, arranged in chronological order for a general readership. Breaking through the usual geographical and cultural boundaries of art history, it celebrates the vast range of human artistry across time and space. Each work is accompanied by key caption information (date, title, place of origin, style or culture, medium, dimensions etc.), and a short text providing more information and explaining the art historical context. The book presents art in a way different from other art history compendia, revealing the huge diversity, or in many cases similarity, of man's artistic achievements through time and around the globe. Ordered chronologically, the resulting timeline of works leads to compelling browsing: surprising juxtapositions offer intellectual pleasure and a sense of wonder and discovery. The selection of works from across the world, arranged in the sequence in which they were made, take the reader on a global and historical journey, as a Chinese Shang urn stands next to a Mycenaean vase, and Michelangelo's Slave is followed by a contemporaneous male sculpture from Nigeria. The chronological arrangement responds to such questions as where does the earliest art appear? What were artists creating in China or Africa while Rembrandt was painting self-portraits in Leyden? How were similar subjects - equestrian themes, landscapes, religious scenes - manipulated by artists in Aztec Mexico and Medieval Europe? Although the sequence of works in the book is strictly chronological, the selection of entries for an individual culture comprises an abbreviated history of the art of that people. Thus, while artworks from ancient Greece or the European Renaissance or pre-Columbian Americas are interspersed with contemporaneous works created in Africa, India or Japan, an extraction of the Greek or Renaissance or American works could stand alone as an essential abridgement of the finest art of that period or culture.
In its first thousand years -- from the revelations to Muhammad in the seventh century to the great Islamic empires of the sixteenth -- Islamic civilization flourished. While Europeans suffered through the Dark Ages, Muslims in such cities as Jerusalem, Damascus, Alexandria, Fez, Tunis, Cairo, and Baghdad made remarkable advances in philosophy, science, medicine, literature, and art. This engrossing and accessible book explores the first millennium of Islamic culture, shattering stereotypes and enlightening readers about the events and achievements that have shaped contemporary Islamic civilization.
Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair examine the rise of Islam, the life of Muhammad, and the Islamic principles of faith. They describe the golden age of the Abbasids, the Mongol invasions, and the great Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires that emerged in their wake. Their narrative, complemented by excerpts of the Koran, poetry, biographies, inscriptions, travel guides, and even a thirteenth-century recipe, concludes with a brief epilogue that takes us to the twentieth century. Colorfully illustrated, this book is a wonderful introduction to the rich history of a civilization that still radically affects the world.
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