Resources & Publications

  • Book

    Fighting, Hunting, Impressing – Arms and Armour from the Islamic World 1500–1850, by Kjeld von Folsach, Curator Joachim Meyer and Curator Peter Wandel

    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

  • Book

    Ceramics of Iran: Islamic Pottery in the Sarikhani Collection, by Oliver Watson with contributions by Moujan Matin and Will Kwiatkowski

    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

  • Book

    The 1720 Imperial Circumcision Celebrations in Istanbul: Festivity and Representation in the Early Eighteenth Century, by Sinem Erdoğan İşkorkutan

    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.

  • Book

    Under the Skin: Feminist Art and Art Histories from the Middle East and North Africa Today, eds. Ceren Özpınar and Mary Kelly

    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.

  • Book

    Mekka and Medina Maps and Illustrations: from 15th to 20th Century, by Mehmet Tütüncü

    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.

  • Book

    From Granada to Berlin: the Alhambra Cupola, by Anna McSweeney

    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.

  • Book

    Muthanna/Mirror Writing in Islamic Calligraphy. History, Theory and Aesthetics by Esra Akın-Kıvanç

    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.

  • Book

    Islamic Manuscripts of Late Medieval Rum, 1270s-1370s: Production, Patronage and the Arts of the Book, Cailah Jackson

    Islamic Manuscripts of Late Medieval Rum, 1270s-1370s: Production, Patronage and the Arts of the Book 

    The first in-depth survey of illuminated manuscripts from Anatolia before the rise of the Ottoman Empire

    • Meticulously analyses 15 Persian and Arabic manuscripts including the Mas̲navī of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (1278), the Qaramanid Qur’an (1314-15) and the Dīvān-i Kabīr of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (1368)
    • Translates new and unpublished primary sources on the cultural history of the period, including manuscript colophons, dedications and endowment notes
    • Includes a comprehensive catalogue of key manuscripts
    • Fully illustrated in colour with many unpublished or hard-to-find images

    Between the Mongol invasions in the mid-13th century and the rise of the Ottomans in the late 14th century, the Lands of Rūm were marked by instability and conflict. Despite this, a rich body of illuminated manuscripts from the period survives, explored here in this extensively illustrated volume. Meticulously analysing 15 beautifully decorated Arabic and Persian manuscripts, including Qur’ans, mirrors-for-princes, historical chronicles and Sufi works, Cailah Jackson traces the development of calligraphy and illumination in late medieval Anatolia. She shows that the central Anatolian city of Konya, in particular, was a dynamic centre of artistic activity and that local Turcoman princes, Seljuk bureaucrats and Mevlevi dervishes all played important roles in manuscript production and patronage

  • 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.



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