Resources & Publications

  • Website

    The British Museum's New Website for the Islamic Gallery

    The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic world Rooms 42-43

    represents an exciting new vision, displayed across two magnificent refurbished galleries at the heart of the British Museum. The British Museum’s Islamic collection comprises a broad and diverse spectrum of the material culture produced from the seventh century to the present day in the Islamic world, a series of regions stretching from West Africa to Southeast Asia. From archaeological material to contemporary art, from the paintings and vessels made for royal patrons to the evocative objects of daily life, this new Gallery brings together the stories of interconnected worlds across time and geography.

    To learn more about the collection, see the following recent publications: 

    * Akbarnia, L., V. Porter, F. Suleman, et al. The Islamic World : A History in Objects, London: Thames & Hudson, 2018

    * The Making of the Albukhary Gallery of the Islamic World, London: The British Museum, 2018 

    * Suleman, Fahmida. The Fabric of Life: Textiles from the Middle East and Central Asia. London: British Museum Press, 2017

  • Book

    Modernism on the Nile: Art in Egypt between the Islamic and the Contemporary by Alex Dika Seggerman

    Modernism on the Nile

    Art in Egypt between the Islamic and the Contemporary

    Alex Dika Seggerman


    Analyzing the modernist art movement that arose in Cairo and Alexandria from the late nineteenth century through the 1960s, Alex Dika Seggerman reveals how the visual arts were part of a multifaceted transnational modernism.  While the work of diverse, major Egyptian artists during this era may have appeared to be secular, she argues, it reflected the subtle but essential inflection of Islam, as a faith, history, and lived experience, in the overarching development of Middle Eastern modernity.


    Challenging typical views of modernism in art history as solely Euro-American, and expanding the conventional periodization of Islamic art history, Seggerman theorizes a “constellational modernism” for the emerging field of global modernism. Rather than seeing modernism in a generalized, hyperconnected network, she finds that art and artists circulated in distinct constellations that encompassed finite local and transnational relations. Such constellations, which could engage visual systems both along and beyond the Nile, from Los Angeles to Delhi, were materialized in visual culture that ranged from oil paintings and sculpture to photography and prints. Based on extensive research in Egypt, Europe, and the United States, this richly illustrated book poses a compelling argument for the importance of Muslim networks to global modernism.


    “Crafting the concept of constellational to chart the evolution of modern art in Egypt, Seggerman reconciles the seemingly antagonistic notions of Islamic and modern in art history.  Analyzing a selection of preeminent artists’ work, she boldly constructs a nuanced approach to interpreting not only modern Egyptian art but potentially all modern art movements in countries with a living Islamic heritage.”

    Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


    296 pages, 24 color plates., 74 halftones  $34.95  hardcover

    Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks

  • Book

    Journey to the City A Companion to the Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum, eds. Steve Tinney and Karen Sonik

    The Penn Museum has a long and storied history of research and archaeological exploration in the ancient Middle East. This book highlights this rich depth of knowledge while also serving as a companion volume to the Museum's signature Middle East Galleries opening in April 2018. This edited volume includes chapters and integrated short, focused pieces from Museum curators and staff actively involved in the detailed planning of the new galleries. In addition to highlighting the most remarkable and interesting objects in the Museum's extraordinary Middle East collections, this volume illuminates the primary themes within these galleries (make, settle, connect, organize, and believe) and provides a larger context within which to understand them.

    The ancient Middle East is home to the first urban settlements in human history, dating to the fourth millennium BCE; therefore, tracing this move toward city life figures prominently in the book. The topic of urbanization, how it came about and how these early steps still impact our daily lives, is explored from regional and localized perspectives, bringing us from Mesopotamia (Ur, Uruk, and Nippur) to Islamic and Persianate cites (Rayy and Isfahan) and, finally, connecting back to life in modern Philadelphia. Through examination of topics such as landscape, resources, trade, religious belief and burial practices, daily life, and nomads, this very important human journey is investigated both broadly and with specific case studies.

  • Book

    The Image Debate: Figural Representation in Islam and Across the World (ed. Christiane Gruber)

    The Image Debate is a collection of thirteen essays that examine the controversy surrounding the use of images in Islamic and other religious cultures and seek to redress some of the misunderstandings that have arisen.  
    Table of Contents: Stefano Carboni – Foreword Christiane Gruber – Idols and Figural Images in Islam: A Brief Dive into a Perennial Debate  
    Part 1: Pre-Modern Islam Mika Natif –  ‘Painters Will Be Punished’: The Politics of Figural Representation Amongst the Umayyads Finbarr Barry Flood – Signs of Silence: Epigraphic Erasure and the Image of the Word Oya Pancaroğlu – Conditions of Love and Conventions of Representation in the Illustrated Manuscript of Varqa and Gulshah  
    Part 2: Beyond the Islamic world Alicia Walker – Iconomachy in Byzantium Steven Fine – The Image in Jewish Art Michael Shenkar – Religious Imagery and Image-Making in pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia Robert Decaroli – Conspicuous Absences: The Avoidance and Use of Images in Early South Asian Art  
    Part 3: Modern and Contemporary Islam Yousuf Saeed – The Figural Image in Islamic Devotional Art of the Indian Subcontinent James Bennett – The Shadow Puppet: A South-East Asian Islamic Aesthetic Allen F. Roberts and Mary Nooter Roberts – Enigma and Purpose: Visual Hagiographies of Urban Senegal Rose Issa – Figures of Protest in Contemporary Arab and Iranian Art Shiva Balaghi – Only for My Shadow: Figuration in Contemporary Iranian Art
  • Website

    New version of the Islamic Painted Page Database

    The University of Hamburg’s Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures and Islamic Painted Page are pleased to announce the launch of a new version of the Islamic Painted Page website to help users locate paintings, illuminations and bindings, and to signpost them onward to authoritative online and print publications.    

    As well as some refinements to the site, we are proud to report the database is now expanded to 42,000 references, of which 21,000 now include images. Altogether, the database now includes works from over 270 collections worldwide, and image facilities are now included for 50% of the content. Everything remains fully searchable by picture description as well as by place, date, accession number and other metadata.

    Very grateful acknowledgement is made to the Smithsonian Freer Sackler Galleries; The Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Harvard Art Museums; Copenhagen David Collection; the Geneva Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, and Chester Beatty Library, for permission to include images from their collections on this latest version of the database. Together with previous permissions and Creative Commons policies, this enables the database to display images for works from twenty major collections so far. 

    The Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures aims to enable the continued development of the Islamic Painted Page database, and the site is now hosted and supported by the University of Hamburg, although the database ownership and maintenance remain unchanged.

  • Archive

    An Ocean of Paper Database of Omani waraqas

    An Ocean of Paper seeks to stimulate new research in the social history of the Sultanate by collecting, cataloging, and publishing the thousands of deeds (called waraqas) produced by Omanis in South Arabia and East Africa during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These deeds, which exist in private and public collections in Oman and East Africa, recount transactions in money, property, and commodities between Omanis from different parts of the country who engaged in activities around the Indian Ocean. Individually, they tell stories of the lives, fortunes, and trajectories of Omani migrants; together, they constitute some of the richest written records we have on any community in the region, and promise to completely reshape the foundations of Omani social and economic history in the Indian Ocean.

  • Book

    Asa Eger, ed. The Archaeology of the Medieval Islamic Frontiers: From the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea [University of Colorado Press, Louisville: 2019]

    Table of Contents 1. A. Asa Eger (UNCG), “The Archaeology of Medieval Islamic Frontiers – an Introduction” 3

    Part I: Western Frontiers: The Maghrib and The Mediterranean Sea

    2. Anthony J.  Lauricella (U Chicago), “Ibadi Boundaries and Defense in the Jabal Nafusa (Libya)” 31

    3.  Renata Holod (U Penn) and Tarek Kahlaoui (Mediterranean School of Business), “Guarding a Well-Ordered Space on a Mediterranean Island”  47

    4. Ian Randall (Brown), “Conceptualizing the Islamic-Byzantine Maritime Frontier.” 80

    Part II: Southern Frontiers: Egypt and Nubia

    5. Giovanni Ruffini (Fairfield), “Monetization across the  Nubian Border: A Hypothetical Model”  105 

    6. Jana Eger (Mu, “ The Land of Tari' and Some New Thoughts about Its Location”  119

    Part III: Eastern Frontiers: The Caucasus

    7. Karim Alizadeh (Harvard): “Overlapping Social and Political Boundaries:  Borders of the Sasanian Empire and the Muslim Caliphate in the Caucasus” 139   

    8.  Tasha Vorderstrasse (U Chicago), “Buddhism on the Shores of the Black Sea:  The North Caucasus Frontier between the Muslims, Byzantines and Khazars ” 168.

    9. Kathryn Franklin, “Houses for Strangers and a Homeland on the Move: the Caravan- House and Political Economy in the Late Medieval Armenian Highlands (AD 1200- 1400)

  • Book

    Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam, ed Michael Frishkopf and Federico Spinetti (University of Texas Press, March 2018).

    Edited by Federico Spinetti (U. Cologne) and Michael Frishkopf, with a foreword by Ali Asani (Harvard), this interdisciplinary collection comprises 14 chapters, representing multiple regions of the Muslim world, by scholars offering diverse perspectives on the multifaceted relations between sound and the built environment. The volume includes 16 full color plates, some 70 b&w figures, and an accompanying website (in progress) at, which will ultimately provide accompanying AV for every chapter. 

    ِContributors (in order) include Ali Asani, D. Fairchild Ruggles, Nina Ergin, John Morgan O’Connell, Irene Markoff, Michael Frishkopf, Jonathan H. Shannon, Samer Akkach, Cynthia Robinson, Glaire D. Anderson, Paul A. Silverstein, Kamil Khan Mumtaz, Saida Daukeyeva, Anthony Welch, and Federico Spinetti.

  • Book

    Margaret S. Graves, Arts of Allusion: Object, Ornament, and Architecture in Medieval Islam (Oxford University Press, 2018)

    • Offers first book-length investigation of the striking engagement between portable arts and architecture in the medieval Islamic world
    • Recognizes and argues for material objects and craftsmanship as a vital component of the intellectual culture of the medieval Islamic world
    • Features over 100 stunning color and black-and-white illustrations
    • Includes little-known and unpublished artworks from international collections
  • Website

    Dallas Museum of Art, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art online

    The Dallas Museum of Art has made the Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art available on its website ( For the first time, new digital, color photography of the majority of the objects in the collection is freely available for study and download. This project is the culmination of four years of admirable work behind the scenes at the DMA, for which the museum’s staff deserves much praise.  

    The collection is searchable both by the published Keir catalogue numbers and by the new loan numbers assigned by the DMA. In any new publications, please use the credit line “The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, XXX” where XXX is the new loan number. If you wish, you can follow this with the published, catalogue number.  

    The Keir Collection online project is a work in progress—please bear with us as we continue to improve our online presence. The cataloguing is minimal and not yet updated—there are many gaps and there may be some errors. The digitisation of objects continues. Most of the manuscripts have been digitised and are being coded so that they can be viewed with the pages properly sequenced—these will be uploaded on a rolling basis as soon as they are ready. Finally, some objects are not yet present on the website.

Submit resources and publications

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.