Resources & Publications

  • Archive

    Manar al-Athar Open-Access Photo-Archive

    The Manar al-Athar photo-archive, based at the University of Oxford, provides high resolution, searchable images for teaching, research, publication and heritage work.  These images of archaeological sites, buildings and artworks, cover the areas of the former Roman Empire which later came under Islamic rule (such as Syro-Palestine/the Levant, Egypt and North Africa), and adjoining regions, such as Armenia and Georgia.  The chronological range is from Alexander the Great (i.e from about 300 BC) through the Islamic period.


    The photo-archive is open-access so that it can be freely used by anyone anywhere in the world.  Photographs can be freely downloaded as original high-resolution images (tif images) without watermarks, making them immediately available in a format suitable for publication or research, simply by acknowledging the source.  Material is labelled in both English and Arabic to facilitate regional use, with the main instructions also available in some other languages.


    The Manar al-Athar photo-archive currently has c. 70 000 images online, but is in continuous development.  Current strengths include Late Antiquity (AD 250–750), the period of transition from paganism to Christianity and, in turn, to Islam, especially religious buildings (temples, churches, synagogues, mosques) and monumental art (including floor mosaics), early Islamic art (paintings, mosaics, relief sculpture), as well as Roman and early Islamic (Umayyad) architecture, and iconoclasm

  • Book

    Pierre Siméon, From Ordinary to Luxury. Islamic Ceramics from Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan. Studies on the Bumiller Collection I (ed. Verena Daiber), 2020

    "From Ordinary to Luxury” is based on the glazed and unglazed pottery from The Bumiller Collection and is a profound study of Iranian and Central Asian ceramics. The Bumiller set is not a collection of masterpieces, but gives an insight into the most diverse wares of daily life. Pierre Siméon’s expertise and hands-on experience as an archaeologist are invaluable assets for the knowledge of provenance and distribution of Iranian and Central Asian pottery. Apart from that, his study takes into account the works of our Russian colleagues, that have gone without adequate acknowledgement for decades due to the language barrier.

  • Book

    Seeking Transparency Rock Crystals Across the Medieval Mediterranean, eds. Cynthia Hahn and Avinoam Shalem

    Like the sea, and the watery medium with which rock crystal is identified in the Middle Ages, the history of its production during the Middle Ages ebbs and flows. From Late Antiquity to the age of the great Portuguese expansion, specific knowledge about carving the hard material was kept a closely guarded secret in just a few centers of production. All the while, royal courts and wealthy churches were eager patrons for the luxurious objects given that rock crystal was valued as one of the most desirable and precious of all materials, ascribed mysterious origins and powers, and renowned for both rarity and clarity. This collection of essays reveals the global and cross-cultural histories of rock-crystal production in and even beyond the lands of the Mediterranean Sea. It investigates many objects and varied aspects of rock crystal such as: the physical nature and legendary as well as actual origins of the material; its manufacturing techniques and affiliations to other luxurious objects, such as cut glass and carved precious stones; legends and traditions associated with its aesthetic qualities; as well as issues concerning its varied functions and historiography.

    With contributions by: Zainab Bahrani, Isabelle Bardiès, Farid Benfeghoul, Brigitte Buettner, Patrick R. Cowley, Beate Fricke, Marisa Galvez, Stefania Gerevini, Cynthia Hahn, Jeremy Johns, Genevra Kornbluth, Jens Kröger, Ingeborg Krueger, Elise Morero, Bissera V. Penchera, Marcus Pilz, Stèphane Pradines, Venetia Porter, Hara Procopiou, Avinoam Shalem, Gia Toussaint, Roberto Vargiolu, and Hassan Zahouani.

  • Recorded Lecture

    Finbarr Barry Flood's 2019 Chair de Louvre lectures "Technologies de dévotion dans les arts de l’Islam"

    Last fall, Barry Flood was the 2019 Chaire du Louvre, an annual cycle of five lectures. The lectures are in French and the cycle is entitled Technologies de dévotion dans les arts de l’Islam. Pélerins, reliques, copies. The five lectures are now online.

  • Podcast

    Jerba: An Island in Time, with Prof. Renata Holod, University of Pennsylvania

    Ottoman History Podcast--For the first time on the podcast, we discuss the role of archaeology and its potential to contribute to our knowledge of the Ottoman world. More specifically, we explore how the field of landscape archaeology can offer a better understanding of how different factors of religion, politics, and culture impacted the manipulation of territory over millenia. The large-scale examination of material culture and vernacular architecture in a rural setting particularly has the potential to fill in the gaps of the historical archive, providing information about communities that otherwise remain relatively unknown. In this episode, we speak with Renata Holod, who co-directed a multi-year archaeological and architectural survey of the island of Jerba, off the coast of Tunisia. Our conversation not only explains the techniques and methodologies deployed during the project, but also ranges to wider reflections on the different ways the arrival of the Ottomans on the island can be read in the landscape itself.

  • Book

    The Album of the World Emperor: Cross-Cultural Collecting and the Art of Album-Making in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul, by Emine Fetvacı

    The Album of the World Emperor examines an extraordinary piece of art: an album of paintings, drawings, calligraphy, and European prints compiled for the Ottoman sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603–17) by his courtier Kalender Paşa (d. 1616). In this detailed study of one of the most important works of seventeenth-century Ottoman art, Emine Fetvacı uses the album to explore questions of style, iconography, foreign inspiration, and the very meaning of the visual arts in the Islamic world.

  • Book

    The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice, by Heghnar Watenpaugh

    In 2010, the world's wealthiest art institution, the J. Paul Getty Museum, found itself confronted by a century-old genocide. The Armenian Church was suing for the return of eight pages from the Zeytun Gospels, a manuscript illuminated by the greatest medieval Armenian artist, Toros Roslin. Protected for centuries in a remote church, the holy manuscript had followed the waves of displaced people exterminated during the Armenian genocide. Passed from hand to hand, caught in the confusion and brutality of the First World War, it was cleaved in two. Decades later, the manuscript found its way to the Republic of Armenia, while its missing eight pages came to the Getty.

    The Missing Pages is the biography of a manuscript that is at once art, sacred object, and cultural heritage. Its tale mirrors the story of its scattered community as Armenians have struggled to redefine themselves after genocide and in the absence of a homeland. Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh follows in the manuscript's footsteps through seven centuries, from medieval Armenia to the killing fields of 1915 Anatolia, the refugee camps of Aleppo, Ellis Island, and Soviet Armenia, and ultimately to a Los Angeles courtroom.

    Reconstructing the path of the pages, Watenpaugh uncovers the rich tapestry of an extraordinary artwork and the people touched by it. At once a story of genocide and survival, of unimaginable loss and resilience, The Missing Pages captures the human costs of war and persuasively makes the case for a human right to art.

  • Book

    Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia: The Fabric of Life, by Fahmida Suleman

    A beautifully illustrated exploration of the textile traditions of a culturally diverse region, from the late eighteenth century to the present day, featuring works from the extraordinary textile collection at the British Museum

    Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia explores the significance and beauty of textiles from across the Middle East, Turkey, and Central Asia. This vast region has been the focus of population movements, exploration, and trade for thousands of years and is home to a wealth of textile traditions. From the intricate embroidery on a Palestinian wedding dress to the complex iconography on an Afghan war rug, textiles reflect the beliefs, practices, and experiences of people from these lands.

    The book is arranged thematically with pieces grouped according to their purpose or meaning, enabling, for example, the comparison of domestic furnishings, wedding attire, and children’s garments from across the region. The book also includes contemporary works that grapple with modern political issues.

    The textiles featured include male and female garments, hats and headdresses, rugs and felts, children’s clothing, dolls, tent hangings, amulets and animal harnesses. Focusing on the British Museum’s remarkable collection, Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia offers a wealth of creative inspiration and will be essential reading for anyone interested in textiles and the cultures of the Middle East and Central Asia.

    200 illustrations in color and black and white

  • Book

    The Islamic World : A History in Objects, by Ladan Akbarnia, Venetia Porter, Fahmida Suleman, William Greenwood, Zeina Klink-Hoppe, Amandine Merat

    This illustrated introduction offers a fresh approach to the history of the Islamic world from its origins to the present day. Told in six chapters, arranged both chronologically and thematically, and richly enhanced with outstanding images, it provides an illuminating insight into the material culture produced from West Africa to Southeast Asia through art and artifacts, people and places. From pre-Islamic works that provided a foundation for the arts of Islam to masterpieces produced under the great empires and objects that continue to be made today, this expansive survey traces the development of civilizations at the forefront of philosophical and scientific ideas, artistic and literary developments, and technological innovations, exploring a wealth of cultural treasures along the way. Texts are accompanied by a wide variety of objects, including architectural decoration, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, calligraphy, textiles, musical instruments, coins, illustrated manuscripts, and modern and contemporary art, all of which shed new light on the Islamic world both past and present. This book will inspire and inform anyone interested in one of the most influential and diverse cultures of the world. Table of Contents Introduction • 1. A history of histories • 2. Belief and practice • 3. Interconnected worlds (750–1500) • 4. The age of empires (1500–1900) • 5. Literary and musical traditions • 6. The modern world • 7. Glossary • 8. Selected bibliography • 9. Acknowledgements • 10. Credits • 11. Index

  • 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

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.