Resources & Publications

  • Book

    Mohamad Reza Ghiasian, Lives of the Prophets: The Illustrations to Hafiz-i Abru’s “Assembly of Chronicles”

    In Lives of the Prophets: The Illustrations to Hafiz-i Abru’s “Assembly of Chronicles” Mohamad Reza Ghiasian analyses two extant copies of the Majmaʿ al-tawarikh produced for the Timurid ruler Shahrukh (r. 1405–1447). The first manuscript is kept in Topkapı Palace and the second is widely dispersed. Codicological analysis of these manuscripts not only allows a better understanding of Hafiz-i Abru’s contributions to rewriting earlier history, but has served to identify the existence of a previously unrecognised copy of the Jamiʿ al-tawarikhproduced at Rashid al-Din’s scriptorium. Through a meticulous close reading of both text and image, Mohamad Reza Ghiasian convincingly proves that numerous paintings of the dispersed manuscript were painted over the text before its dispersal in the early twentieth century.

    Publisher: BRILL 
    Series: Studies in Persian Cultural History, Volume: 16
    Extent: xvi + 344 pp. 
    ISBN: 978-90-04-37722-6

  • Book

    Anna Contadini, ed., The Pisa Griffin and the Mari-Cha Lion. Metalwork, Art, and Technology in the Medieval Islamicate Mediterranean

    The Pisa Griffin and the Mari-Cha Lion. Metalwork, Art, and Technology in the Medieval Islamicate Mediterranean is an interdisciplinary study focusing on two unique bronze sculptures produced between the late eleventh and the early twelfth century. Through scientific, historical and art historical analyses it investigates the many issues that surround them, including fundamental questions of location and period, purpose and patronage, their transcultural meanings, and their agency as the function of each has mutated.

    By bringing related pieces into the discussion, this study seeks to change our understanding of medieval art and metal production in the Western Mediterranean and to highlight the significance of metalworking in Spain and South Italy. It shows how the relationship between these areas and the rest of the Mediterranean was marked by active exchanges of goods and artistic ideas during the period just prior to the development of the better-known Shirazi, Ayyubid and Mamluk inlaid metalwork.

    Pisa: Pacini Editore, 2018.

    Hard cover 28.5x25x3.5 cm, 544 pages, 374 colour photos and diagrams, €65. 

  • Book

    Mohamad Reza Ghiasian, Lives of the Prophets: The Illustrations to Hafiz-i Abru's "Assembly of Chronicles

    In Lives of the Prophets: The Illustrations to Hafiz-i Abru's "Assembly of Chronicles" Mohamad Reza Ghiasian analyses two extant copies of the Majmaʿ al-tawarikh produced for the Timurid ruler Shahrukh (r. 1405–1447). The first manuscript is kept in Topkapı Palace and the second is widely dispersed. Codicological analysis of these manuscripts not only allows a better understanding of Hafiz-i Abru's contributions to rewriting earlier history, but has served to identify the existence of a previously unrecognised copy of the Jamiʿ al-tawarikh produced at Rashid al-Din's scriptorium. Through a meticulous close reading of both text and image, Mohamad Reza Ghiasian convincingly proves that numerous paintings of the dispersed manuscript were painted over the text before its dispersal in the early twentieth century.

    Publisher: BRILL 
    Series: Studies in Persian Cultural History, Volume: 16
    Extent: xvi + 344 pp. 
    ISBN: 978-90-04-37722-6

  • Book

    David C. Thomas, The Ebb and Flow of the Ghurid Empire

    The iconic minaret of Jam stands in a remote mountain valley in central Afghanistan, the finest surviving monument of the enigmatic 12th-century Ghurid dynasty. The re-discovery of the minaret half a century ago prompted renewed interest in the Ghurids, and this has intensified since their summer capital at Jam became Afghanistan’s first World Heritage site in 2002. Two seasons of archaeological fieldwork at Jam, the detailed analysis of satellite images and the innovative use of Google Earth as a cultural heritage management tool have resulted in a wealth of new information about known Ghurid sites, and the identification of hundreds of previously undocumented archaeological sites across Afghanistan. Thomas uses this data to generate a more nuanced understanding of this early Islamic polity and its sustainability, as well as exploring issues of Ghurid identity and ideology.

    Sydney University Press, 2018.

    ISBN: 9781743325414

  • Book

    Elaine Wright, Lapis and Gold, Exploring Chester Beatty’s Ruzbihan Qur’an

    Praised as one of the finest calligraphers of his time, Ruzbihan Muhammad al-Tab‘i al-Shirazi would have produced numerous Qur’ans during the course of his career, but only five signed by him have survived, of which the Chester Betty manuscript—produced in Shiraz—is surely his finest. Equally deserving of praise is the team of highly skilled, yet anonymous, artists responsible for the manuscript’s decorative programme, the combined quality, extent, diversity and complexity of which sets the manuscript apart from almost all others of its time. The manuscript is not dated, but work on it probably began about 1550.


    The book is a detailed and comprehensive study of the manuscript with chapters on the writing of the text (including a discussion of problems encountered in the spacing of the text and omissions and errors made by the calligrapher), the reading and recitation of the text and the decoration of it. Much of the discussion is the result of close examination of the manuscript under high magnification, which often revealed surprising and previously unknown aspects of production. An essay on the pigments used in the manuscript, by Kristine Rose Beers, the Chester Beatty’s Senior Conservator, is also included. 


    Ad Ilissum/Paul Holberton Publishing, London

    Hardback, 300 x 240 mm

    320 pages, 430 colour illustrations

    ISBN 978 1 912168 04 0

  • Book

    Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, Bayt Farhi and the Sephardic Palaces of Ottoman Damascus in the Late 18th and 19th Centuries

    One of the largest and most important palatial houses of late 18th- and early 19th-century Damascus belonged to the Farhi family, who served as financial administrators to successive Ottoman governors in Damascus and Acre. The conversion of Bayt Farhi to a hotel provided a unique opportunity to make a detailed examination of its architecture, which is comparable to those of affluent Christians and Muslims, and decorated with high quality materials in the latest styles.

    Lavishly illustrated with extensive color photographs, plans, and reconstruction drawings the book brings to life the home environment of the lost elite Sephardic community of Ottoman Damascus. It will be an essential resource for those studying the architecture, history, and culture of Syria and the Ottoman Empire. Co-published with Manar al-Athar, University of Oxford.


    Annual of ASOR, 72

    Manar al-Athar Monographs, 4  

    ISBN-13 9780897571005 
    ISBN-10 0897571002

    356 pages (255 col & 47 b/w illus.)

    $89.95

  • Book

    Somaiyeh Falahat, Cities and Metaphors Beyond Imaginaries of Islamic Urban Space

    Introducing a new concept of urban space, Cities and Metaphors encourages a theoretical realignment of how the city is experienced, thought and discussed. 


    In the context of ‘Islamic city’ studies, relying on reasoning and rational thinking has reduced descriptive, vivid features of the urban space into a generic scientific framework. Phenomenological characteristics have consequently been ignored rather than integrated into theoretical components. The book argues that this results from a lack of appropriate conceptual vocabulary in our global body of scholarly literature. It challenges existing theories, introduces and applies the concept of Hezar-tu (‘a thousand insides’) to rethink the spaces in historic cores of Fez, Isfahan and Tunis. This tool constructs a staging post towards a different articulation of urban space based on spatial, physical, virtual, symbolic and social edges and thresholds; nodes of sociospatial relationships; zones of containment; state of intermediacy; and, thus, a logic of ambiguity rather than determinacy. Presenting alternative narrations of paths through sequential discovery of spaces, this book brings the sensual features of urban space into the focus.  


    The book finally shows that concepts derived from local contexts enable us to tailor our methods and theoretical structures to the idiosyncrasies of each city while retaining the global commonalities of all. Hence, in broader terms, it contributes to a growing awareness that urban studies should be more inclusive by bringing the diverse global contexts of cities into the body of our urban knowledge.

  • Book

    Farzaneh Pirouz, Clay between Two Seas: From Baghdad to the Talavera of Puebla / Cerámica entre dos mares

    Cerámica entre dos mares, ed. Farzaneh Pirouz-Moussavi

    Spanish and English

    Planeta, 2014

    ISBN  978-6070739842

  • Book

    The Indigenous Lens? Early Photography in the Near and Middle East (Anthology), ed. Markus Ritter and Staci Gem Scheiwiller

    The historiography of early photography has scarcely examined Islamic countries in the Near and Middle East, although the new technique was adopted very quickly there by the 1840s. Which regional, local, and global aspects can be made evident? What role did autochthonous image and art traditions have, and which specific functions did photography meet since its introduction? This collective volume deals with examples from Iran, the Ottoman Empire, and the Arab lands and with the question of local specifics, or an „indigenous lens." The contributions broach the issues of regional histories of photography, local photographers, specific themes and practices, and historical collections in these countries. They offer, for the first time in book form, a cross-section through a developing field of the history of photography.

    Series: Studies in Theory and History of Photography (Book 8)
    Paperback: 374 pages
    Publisher: De Gruyter (October 11, 2017)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 3110491354
    ISBN-13: 978-311049135

  • Book

    Olga Bush, Reframing the Alhambra: Architecture, Poetry, Textiles and Court Ceremonial

    The Nasrid builders of the Alhambra – the best-preserved medieval Muslim palatial city – were so exacting that some of their work could not be fully explained until the invention of fractal geometry. Their design principles have been obscured, however, by the loss of all archival material. This book resolves that impasse by investigating the neglected, interdisciplinary contexts of medieval poetics and optics and through comparative study of Islamic court ceremonials. This reframing enables the reconstruction of the underlying, integrated aesthetic, focusing on the harmonious interrelationship between diverse artistic media – architecture, poetry and textiles – in the experience of the beholder, resulting in a new understanding of the Alhambra.

    Hardback, Spring 2018, 344 pages, 94 colour illustrations; ISBN 9781474416504 

    Edinburgh University Press (distributed by Oxford University Press in the Americas)




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