Resources & Publications

  • 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

  • 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
  • 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 archnet.org, 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
  • Book

    Alessandra Bagnera, The Ghaznavid Mosque and the Islamic Settlement at Mt. Raja Gira, Udegram

    The archaeological excavations carried out on the northern slopes of Mount Rāja Gīrā near Udegram, in the Swat valley, represent one of the most recent projects of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan before the forced interruption of the activities in 2007. Under the direction of the late Umberto Scerrato, five campaigns were carried out between 1985 and 1996 by the research team working on the Archaeology and History of Islamic Art. 


    The result of the work was the identification of a very interesting pluri-stratified context featuring an Islamic occupation dating from the 11th to the 13th-14th centuries and almost overlapping two main pre-Islamic phases, the later one dated to the 8th-10th centuries and the earlier one dating from the 1st/2nd-4th centuries. A Ghaznavid congregational mosque was unearthed, to which some housing facilities and a small cemetery of Muslim rite were also linked.            


    A strong local tradition links the Muslim conquest of this region to the numerous expeditions made by Maḥmūd of Ghazna to the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent, an event that has been hitherto considered as not recorded in the historical and literary sources. Although the matter can be reconsidered in the light of some new elements (see Chapters IV and V), the site unearthed on the slopes of Mt. Rāja Gīrā positively proves the existence of a true early Muslim occupation of this area. The major feature of this is the Ghaznavid congregational mosque, the earliest one dated in North Pakistan, and the third in the whole nation after those of Banbhore (8th century) and Mansura (9th century) in Sind. Many other data gathered from the excavations add precious information about the Ghaznavid occupation of the area, the Islamization processes that followed the conquest and the possible role played by Udegram in the political and administrative re-organization of the region. At the same time, the subsequent phases identified at the site document with new archaeological evidence some events so far recorded only by the sources. This is the case, for example, of the Khwarizm Shahs’ presence in the region during the first decades of the 13th century.   


    Series: ACT-Field School Project Reports and Memoirs, V - Excavations and Conservation Activities in Swat District (2011-2013) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa - Pakistan. 4
    Lahore, Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2015
    174 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 28 cm
    ISBN-10: 969-35-2880-8
    ISBN-13: 978-969-35-2880-0



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