The David Collection is happy to announce the publication of Fighting, Hunting, Impressing – Arms and Armour from the Islamic World 1500–1850, the book behind the exhibition of the same name, that will open at The David Collection in spring 2021 – Danish corona restrictions allowing – and run until autumn 2021 (check the museum’s website). The book and exhibition focus on the characteristics of Islamic arms and armour from 1500 to 1850, describing the role they played on the battlefield, in connection with hunting and as ornaments.
The vast majority of arms and armour was created for men, and the finest and most lavish specimens were not intended for either fighting or hunting but may be considered a kind of male jewellery and status symbols. Colossal amounts of technical skill and artistic creativity was put into the creation of these objects of beauty, all while retaining their utility as fully functional weapons.
The book’s introductory article examines the role played by fighting and arms and armour in the Koran, and how these relate to the rise and early spread of Islam.
Another article is about furusiyya, the chivalric code of the Islamic world. The concept covers both the practical education and moral edification that noble Islamic warriors of the time were expected to receive.
Arabic script plays a major role in the decoration of Islamic art in general. This also applies to arms and armour, and while many inscriptions come from the Koran, others may also reveal who made the weapons, when they were made and who owned them.
The history of collecting Islamic arms and armour, in the Islamic world and in the West, has many fascinating aspects that are also explored in this publication.
Finally, three articles provide broad insights into the three main contexts in which Islamic arms and armour were used: combat and war, princely hunts, and various ceremonies such as audiences and exchanges of gifts.
The large catalogue section presents and analyses a range of weapons, armour, helmets and shields. Originally created in an area extending from North Africa to India, these pieces have found their way into Danish collections from the seventeenth century onwards. Also included are a number of miniature paintings illustrating the various contexts in which arms and armour were used. An appendix contains translations of the objects’ numerous Arabic, Persian and Turkish inscriptions.
Many of the 151 items featured in the catalogue belong to the David Collection, but other museums and a private collector have also contributed extensively. All the works on display are beautifully reproduced in the book, supplemented by a large number of full-colour illustrations in the introductory articles.
About the authors
The book’s authors and editors are Director Kjeld von Folsach, Curator Joachim Meyer and Curator Peter Wandel – all three from the David Collection. The book also contains contributions by Professor Thomas Hoffmann, University of Copenhagen, and Will Kwiatkowski, an international scholar specialised in Islamic inscriptions.
English edition: ISBN 978-87-92596-10-9
Danish edition: ISBN 978-87-92596-28-4
Size: 296 pages, richly illustrated
Publisher: The David Collection in commission with Strandberg Publishing
The volume contains 242 pieces from the 8th to the 18th century CE, with introduction and commentaries by Oliver Watson, inscriptions transcribed and translated by Will Kwiatkowski, and transcription, new translation and commentary by Moujan Matin on two key mediaeval texts: the chapter on ceramic manufacture by Abu’l-Qasim Qashani (700/1301CE) and the chapter on recipes for lustre pigment by Jowhari Nishaburi from a manuscript of 592/1196CE
The 1720 Imperial Circumcision Celebrations in Istanbul offers the first holistic examination of an Ottoman public festival through an in-depth inquiry into different components of the 1720 event. Through a critical and combined analysis of the hitherto unknown archival sources along with the textual and pictorial narratives on the topic, the book vividly illustrates the festival’s organizational details and preparations, its complex rites (related to consumption, exchange, competition), and its representation in courtcommissioned illustrated festival books (sūrnāmes).To analyze all these phases in a holistic manner, the book employs an interdisciplinary approach by using the methodological tools of history, art history, and performance studies and thus, provides a new methodological and conceptual framework for the study of Ottoman celebrations.
Under the Skin explores how art responds to and shapes cultural attitudes towards gender and sexuality, ethnicity/race, religion, tradition, modernity and contemporaneity, and local and global politics. We hope that you like how it strives to strike a balance by connecting studies and scholars to stimulate different feminist and decolonial perspectives and debates on art and visual culture from the Middle East and North Africa.
Part of the online exhibition, “Black Monuments Matter,” organized by The Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Zamani Project at the University of Cape Town.
Black Monuments Matter recognises and highlights African contributions to world history by exhibiting World Heritage Monuments and architectural treasures from Sub-Saharan Africa.
In doing so, this exhibition sweeps away ideas based on racist theories and hopes to contribute to both awareness of African identity and pride of African Heritage. The exhibition is inspired by the “Black History Month” in the United Kingdom.
Black monuments matter and Black cultures matter. Sites and monuments are physical representations of histories, heritage, and developments in society. This exhibition aims to display the diversity and richness of African cultures as part of world history through the study of African Monuments; bringing awareness and pride of African roots and contributions to other cultures.
Drawings and images of Islam’s holiest places, the Kaaba and the city of Mecca, alongside Medina with the Mosque of the Prophet, have been very popular over the centuries. These images have been used for various purposes and had also been executed for these purposes (drawn, sketched, coloured, incised, stencilled, cut, knitted, printed or even built) on or using a variety of materials, such as stone, ceramics, paper, textiles, wood, marble/tiles (in the form of frescoes), etc. This book is a publication and description mostly for the first time of nine key objects representing mecca and Medina. The book describes and analyses the contents from these images and its relevance to the buildings, history and topography of the holy cities of Islam.
The new book by Dr Anna McSweeney – From Granada to Berlin: the Alhambra Cupola (Verlag Kettler, 2020) – tells the long history of the Alhambra palace through the prism of one of its most extraordinary survivors: the Alhambra cupola, a carved and painted 14th century ceiling which is now in the Museum for Islamic Art in Berlin.
Through a close examination of the cupola, it traces the long history of the Alhambra from medieval Granada to contemporary Berlin. It examines the methodology of object biography in relation to architectural fragments, while the loss of the cupola from Granada, its acquisition by the museum in Berlin and the complex reasons behind this loss remain central. Through a focused, chronological study with extensive new research on the object and the changing societies through which it moved, including many previously unpublished images, this book explores the material and cultural history of the cupola and offers a new perspective on the legacy of Islamic art in Europe and its continuing relevance today.
Muthanna, also known as mirror writing, is a compelling style of Islamic calligraphy composed of a source text and its mirror image placed symmetrically on a horizontal or vertical axis. This style elaborates on various scripts such as Kufic, naskh, and muhaqqaq through compositional arrangements, including doubling, superimposing, and stacking. Muthanna is found in diverse media, ranging from architecture, textiles, and tiles to paper, metalwork, and woodwork. Yet despite its centuries-old history and popularity in countries from Iran to Spain, scholarship on the form has remained limited and flawed. Muthanna / Mirror Writing in Islamic Calligraphy provides a comprehensive study of the text and its forms, beginning with an explanation of the visual principles and techniques used in its creation. Author Esra Akın-Kıvanç explores muthanna's relationship to similar forms of writing in Judaic and Christian contexts, as well as the specifically Islamic contexts within which symmetrically mirrored compositions reached full fruition, were assigned new meanings, and transformed into more complex visual forms. Throughout, Akın-Kıvanç imaginatively plays on the implicit relationship between subject and object in muthanna by examining the point of view of the artist, the viewer, and the work of art. In doing so, this study elaborates on the vital links between outward form and inner meaning in Islamic calligraphy.
“Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online” is an emerging platform of digital resources to aid the teaching of the history of Islamic art and architecture. In its initial stage, the platform provides original multimedia content developed by scholars from across the field of Islamic art, which is intended to aid educators in the creation of an interactive learning environment and to contribute to new ways of teaching in general, bringing new voices, perspectives, and materials into our classrooms. The project is spearheaded by Prof. Christiane Gruber at the University of Michigan and a team of six collaborators. Team Khamseen will make this material available to public audiences, with the aim to establish and expand a website with additional resources over the coming months. Currently available mini-multimedia files include the following presentations:
Khamseen is an ongoing project and more material will be included on a rolling basis. For any questions, or if you are interested in contributing a mini multi-media file, please contact Team Khamseen at TeamKhamseen@umich.edu
HIAA-sponsored discussion of online resources for the teaching of Islamic art on July 15th, 2020.
The discussion includes a synthesis of online resources by Christiane Gruber (University of Michigan), an exploration of museum online collections of Islamic art by Ruba Kana'an (University of Toronto, Mississauga), and an overview of Archnet by Michael Toler and Matt Saba (Archnet/MIT).
Please submit resources to the HIAA webmaster including the resource name and type, and several sentences about its nature, and a link to further information.