The commodification of Islamic antiques intensified in the late Ottoman Empire, an age of domestic reform and increased European interference following the Tanzimat (reorganisation) of 1839. Mercedes Volait examines the social life of typical objects moving from Cairo and Damascus to Paris, London, and beyond, uncovers the range of agencies and subjectivities involved in the trade of architectural salvage and historic handicraft, and traces impacts on private interiors, through creative reuse and Revival design, in Egypt, Europe and America. By devoting attention to both local and global engagements with Middle Eastern tangible heritage, the present volume invites to look anew at Orientalism in art and interior design, the canon of Islamic architecture and the translocation of historic works of art
Mediterranean Encounters: Artists Between Europe and the Ottoman Empire, 1774-1839 is now out in paperback.
(30% discount with promotion code NR21.)
The death of the last balsam tree in the plantation of Matarea in 1615 marks the end of practice of specialised cultivation that can be traced back two millennia. This interdisciplinary book uses written sources, visual data, and archaeological material to reconstruct the fascinating history of the balsam tree from Jericho and En-Gedi to Egypt, while also establishing links with resin-producing trees from the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. Chapters address the symbolic associations of balsam and the site of Matarea, the distribution of products from the tree through trade and diplomacy, and the applications of these products in medicine, ritual, and the domestic environment. These chapters allow for an exploration of the complex socio-cultural factors that contributed to the sense of value accorded to rare commodities.
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For centuries artists, diplomats, and merchants served as cultural intermediaries in the Mediterranean. Stationed in port cities and other entrepôts of the Mediterranean, these go-betweens forged intercultural connections even as they negotiated and sometimes promoted cultural misunderstandings. They also moved objects of all kinds across time and space. This volume considers how the mobility of art and material culture is intertwined with greater Mediterranean networks from 1580 to 1880. Contributors see the movement of people and objects as transformational, emphasizing the trajectory of objects over single points of origin, multiplicity over unity, and mutability over stasis.
Introduction: The Mobility of People and Things in the Early Modern Mediterranean: The Art of Travel - Elisabeth A. Fraser; 1 "From Scorching Spain and Freezing Muscovy": English Embroidery and Early Modern Mediterranean Trade - Sylvia Houghteling; 2 A Tale of Two Guns: Maritime Weaponry between France and Algiers - Meredith Martin and Gillian Weiss; 3 Furnishing the Taste for Coffee in Early Modern France - Julia Landweber; 4 Substitutes and Souvenirs: Reliving Polish Victory in "Turkish" Tents - Ashley Dimmig; 5 The Ottoman Costume Album as Mobile Object and Agent of Contact - Elisabeth Fraser; 6 Entangled Styles: Mediterranean Migration and Dress in Pre-Modern Algiers - Leyla Belkaïd-Neri; 7 The Art of Wandering: Alexander Svoboda and Photography in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean - Michèle Hannoosh
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.
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.
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