Middle and Near Eastern

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Description: The Arab Imago: A Social History of Portrait Photography, 1860–1910
The birth of photography coincided with the expansion of European imperialism in the Middle East, and some of the medium's earliest images are Orientalist pictures taken by Europeans in such places as Cairo and Jerusalem—photographs that have long shaped and distorted the Western visual imagination of the region. But the Middle East had many of its own photographers, collectors, and patrons. In this book, Stephen Sheehi presents a groundbreaking new account of early photography in the Arab world.

The Arab Imago concentrates primarily on studio portraits by Arab and Armenian photographers in the late Ottoman Empire. Examining previously known studios such as Abdullah Frères, Pascal Sébah, Garabed Krikorian, and Khalil Raad, the book also provides the first account of other pioneers such as Georges and Louis Saboungi, the Kova Brothers, Muhammad Sadiq Bey, and Ibrahim Rif'at Pasha—as well as the first detailed look at early photographs of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. In addition, the book explores indigenous photography manuals and albums, newspapers, scientific journals, and fiction.

Featuring extensive previously unpublished images, The Arab Imago shows how native photography played an essential role in the creation of modern Arab societies in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon before the First World War. At the same time, the book overturns Eurocentric and Orientalist understandings of indigenous photography and challenges previous histories of the medium.
Print publication date January 2016 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780691151328
EISBN 9780300249774
Illustrations 76
Print Status in print
Description: The Art and Architecture of Islam: 1250–1800
Yale University Press/Pelican History of Art

Virtually all the masterpieces of Islamic art—the Alhambra, the Taj Mahal, and the Tahmasp Shahnama—were produced during the period from the Mongol conquests in the early thirteenth century to the advent of European colonial rule in the nineteenth. This important book surveys the architecture and arts of the traditional Islamic lands during this era.

Conceived as a sequel to The Art and Architecture of Islam: 650–1250, by Richard Ettinghausen and Oleg Grabar, the book follows the general format of the first volume, with chronological and regional divisions and architecture treated separately from the other arts. The authors describe over two hundred works of Islamic art of this period and also investigate broader social and economic contexts, considering such topics as function, patronage, and meaning. They discuss, for example, how the universal caliphs of the first six centuries gave way to regional rulers and how, in this new world order, Iranian forms, techniques, and motifs played a dominant role in the artistic life of most of the Muslim world; the one exception was the Maghrib, an area protected from the full brunt of the Mongol invasions, where traditional models continued to inspire artists and patrons. By the sixteenth century, say the authors, the eastern Mediterranean under the Ottomans and the area of northern India under the Mughals had become more powerful, and the Iranian models of early Ottoman and Mughal art gradually gave way to distinct regional and imperial styles. The authors conclude with a provocative essay on the varied legacies of Islamic art in Europe and the Islamic lands in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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Print publication date September 1994 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300058888
EISBN 9780300233988
Illustrations 300 illus.
Print Status in print
Description: Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art
In the rapidly changing world of the early Middle Ages, depictions of the cosmos represented a consistent point of reference across the three dominant states—the Frankish, Byzantine, and Islamic Empires. As these empires diverged from their Greco-Roman roots between 700 and 1000 A.D. and established distinctive medieval artistic traditions, cosmic imagery created a web of visual continuity, though local meanings of these images varied greatly. Benjamin Anderson uses thrones, tables, mantles, frescoes, and manuscripts to show how cosmological motifs informed relationships between individuals, especially the ruling elite, and communities, demonstrating how domestic and global politics informed the production and reception of these depictions. The first book to consider such imagery across the dramatically diverse cultures of Western Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic Middle East, Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art illuminates the distinctions between the cosmological art of these three cultural spheres, and reasserts the centrality of astronomical imagery to the study of art history.
Print publication date February 2017 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300219166
EISBN 9780300247763
Illustrations 77
Print Status in print
Description: Early Christian and Byzantine Art
Yale University Press/Pelican History of Art

Written by distinguished art historian John Beckwith, this book presents an appreciation of early Christian and Byzantine Art as a sublime expression of religious thought and feeling. Beckwith argues that Byzantine art is both static and dynamic: static in the sense that once an image was established it was felt that no improvement was necessary; dynamic in the sense that there was never one style and these styles or modes were constantly changing. The story is not only complex in its unravelling, but ranges widely over various media: mosaic, wall painting and painted panels, sculpture in marble and ivory, manuscript illumination, gold, silver, and precious stones, jewelry, silk and rich vestments.

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Print publication date September 1986 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300052961
EISBN 9780300223859
Illustrations 316
Print Status in print
Description: The Formation of Islamic Art
This classic work on the nature of early Islamic art has now been brought up to date in order to take into consideration material that has recently come to light. In a new chapter, Oleg Grabar develops alternate models for the formation of Islamic art, tightens its chronology, and discusses its implications for the contemporary art of the Muslim world.

2nd revised, enlarged edition

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Print publication date September 1987 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300040463
EISBN 9780300232479
Illustrations 133
Print Status in print
Description: From Mind, Heart, and Hand: Persian, Turkish, and Indian Drawings from the Stuart...
Stuart Cary Welch’s collection of Persian, Turkish, and Indian art is renowned throughout the world for its quality and depth. In 1999, Welch made a generous gift of drawings to the Harvard University Art Museums, which form the basis of the present catalogue. Spanning five centuries and extending from Istanbul to Calcutta, these drawings represent the great empires of the Ottomans in Turkey, the Safavids in Iran, and the Mughals in India as well as numerous regional Hindu kingdoms. This important book presents more than seventy exquisite drawings—some of which are counted among the greatest Indian, Persian, or Turkish drawings ever made—and explores the connections between the arts and artists of the three cultures.

As with drawings from European traditions, the works display an immediacy that is often absent in paintings. The drawings deal with fascinating and diverse subjects ranging from court portraits, stories from fable and myth, and hunting scenes to animals, flowers, and people sketched from life. The contributors to the book shed light on various aspects of the drawings and the artists, and Welch offers an engaging account of his trials and triumphs while acquiring the works in his unparalleled collection.

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Print publication date September 2004 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300104738
EISBN 9780300243895
Illustrations 133
Print Status in print
Description: From Stone to Paper: Architecture as History in the Late Mughal Empire
By the 18th century, the Mughal Empire was well beyond its so-called golden age. Its control of the Indian subcontinent was increasingly threatened by regional Indian states, as well as by the encroaching British Empire. In response to a rapidly changing sociopolitical landscape, the Mughal emperors used architecture to harness their illustrious past and stage cultural authority for contemporary audiences. Chanchal Dadlani provides the first in-depth look at this crucial period of architectural history. Discussing a rich array of built forms and urban spaces—from grand imperial mosques to Delhi’s bustling thoroughfares—the volume sheds light on long-overlooked buildings. It also explores representations of architectural monuments that circulated in the form of building plans, manuscript paintings, and postcards. Ultimately, the book reveals how Mughal architects, artists, and patrons built on the cultural legacy of their imperial predecessors to create the very concept of a historical style identifiable as Mughal.

*This eBook is available exclusively on the A&AePortal*
Print publication date February 2019 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300233179
EISBN 9780300250961
Illustrations 119
Print Status in print
Description: Germany and the Ottoman Railways: Art, Empire, and Infrastructure
Winner of the 2020 Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award, sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians


With lines extending from Bosnia to Baghdad to Medina, the Ottoman Railway Network (1868–1919) was the pride of the empire and its ultimate emblem of modernization—yet it was largely designed and bankrolled by German corporations. This exemplifies a uniquely ambiguous colonial condition in which the interests of Germany and the Ottoman Empire were in constant flux. German capitalists and cultural figures sought influence in the Near East, including access to archaeological sites such as Tell Halaf and Mshatta. At the same time, Ottoman leaders and laborers urgently pursued imperial consolidation. Germany and the Ottoman Railways explores the impact of these political agendas as well as the railways’ impact on the built environment. Relying on a trove of previously unpublished archival materials, including maps, plans, watercolors, and photographs, author Peter H. Christensen also reveals the significance of this major infrastructure project for the budding disciplines of geography, topography, art history, and archaeology.
Print publication date October 2017 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300225648
EISBN 9780300259599
Illustrations 141
Print Status in print
Description: Islamic Art and Architecture: 650–1250
Yale University Press/Pelican History of Art

This classic book provides an unsurpassed overview of Islamic art and architecture from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries, a time of the formation of a new artistic culture and its first flowering in the vast area from the Atlantic to India. The volume focuses special attention on the development of numerous regional centers of art in Spain, North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Anatolia, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as the western and northeastern provinces of Iran. It traces the cultural and artistic evolution of such centers in the seminal early Islamic period and examines the wealth of different ways of creating a beautiful environment and provides new classifications of architecture and architectural decoration, the art of the object, and the art of the book.

*This eBook is available exclusively on the A&AePortal*
Print publication date February 2002 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300088670
EISBN 9780300256031
Illustrations 501
Print Status in print
Description: Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval “Hindu-Muslim”...
Objects of Translation offers a nuanced approach to the entanglements of medieval elites in the regions that today comprise Afghanistan, Pakistan, and north India. The book—which ranges in time from the early eighth to the early thirteenth centuries—challenges existing narratives that cast the period as one of enduring hostility between monolithic "Hindu" and "Muslim" cultures. These narratives of conflict have generally depended upon premodern texts for their understanding of the past. By contrast, this book considers the role of material culture and highlights how objects such as coins, dress, monuments, paintings, and sculptures mediated diverse modes of encounter during a critical but neglected period in South Asian history.

The book explores modes of circulation—among them looting, gifting, and trade—through which artisans and artifacts traveled, remapping cultural boundaries usually imagined as stable and static. It analyzes the relationship between mobility and practices of cultural translation, and the role of both in the emergence of complex transcultural identities. Among the subjects discussed are the rendering of Arabic sacred texts in Sanskrit on Indian coins, the adoption of Turko-Persian dress by Buddhist rulers, the work of Indian stone masons in Afghanistan, and the incorporation of carvings from Hindu and Jain temples in early Indian mosques. Objects of Translation draws upon contemporary theories of cosmopolitanism and globalization to argue for radically new approaches to the cultural geography of premodern South Asia and the Islamic world.
Print publication date January 2018 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780691180748
EISBN 9780300249750
Illustrations 184
Print Status in print
Description: Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World
Like the printing press, typewriter, and computer, paper has been a crucial agent for the dissemination of information. This engaging book presents an important new chapter in paper’s history: how its use in Islamic lands during the Middle Ages influenced almost every aspect of medieval life. Focusing on the spread of paper from the early eighth century, when Muslims in West Asia acquired Chinese knowledge of paper and papermaking, to five centuries later, when they transmitted this knowledge to Christians in Spain and Sicily, the book reveals how paper utterly transformed the passing of knowledge and served as a bridge between cultures.

Jonathan Bloom traces the earliest history of paper—how it was invented in China over 2,000 years ago, how it entered the Islamic lands of West Asia and North Africa, and how it spread to northern Europe. He explores the impact of paper on the development of writing, books, mathematics, music, art, architecture, and even cooking. And he discusses why Europe was so quick to adopt paper from the Islamic lands and why the Islamic lands were so slow to accept printing in return. Together the text and illustrations (of papermaking techniques and the many uses to which paper was put) give new luster and importance to a now-humble material.

*This eBook is available exclusively on the A&AePortal*
Print publication date October 2001 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300089554
EISBN 9780300257731
Illustrations 103
Print Status in print
Description: The Persian Album, 1400–1600
This groundbreaking book examines portable art collections assembled in the courts of Greater Iran in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Made for members of the royal families or ruling elites, albums were created to preserve and display art, yet they were conceptualized in different ways. David Roxburgh, a leading expert on Persian albums and the art of the book, discusses this diversity and demonstrates convincingly that to look at the practice of album making is to open a vista to a culture of thought about the Persian art tradition.

The book considers the album’s formal and physical properties, assembly, and content, as well as the viewer’s experience. Focusing on seven albums created during the Timurid and Safavid dynasties, Roxburgh reconstructs the history and development of this codex form and uses the works of art to explore notions of how art and aesthetics were conceived in Persian court culture. Illustrated with a number of rare works of art, the book offers a range of new insights into Persian visual culture as well as Islamic art history.
Print publication date March 2005 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300103250
EISBN 9780300233582
Illustrations 125 b/w + 51 color illus.
Print Status in print
Description: Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qurʾan
The art of Islamic calligraphy developed from the 7th to the 14th century, beginning in western Arabia, spreading south to Yemen and north to the Near East, and continuing east and west to Iran, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain. This book demonstrates the breadth and beauty of Islamic calligraphy across centuries and continents, as seen in rare early folios of the Qur’an.

Noted scholar David J. Roxburgh begins by discussing the Qur’an, which Muslims believe to be the written record of a series of divinely inspired revelations to the Prophet Muhammad. He then analyzes Kufic script, the preeminent vehicle for writing early manuscripts of the Qur’an; reforms of calligraphy in the 10th century; and the great master Islamic calligraphers, in particular Yaqut al-Musta‘simi. The images of folios and bifolios validate Roxburgh’s conclusion that “the miracle of the text of the Qur’an found its equal in the technical mastery of the calligrapher’s practice, a miracle in its own right.”
Print publication date October 2008 (out of print)
Print ISBN 9780300142006
EISBN 9780300247978
Illustrations 23
Print Status out of print