Muqarnas 38 begins by considering a curious Kufic-inscribed block in the eleventh-century church of Wuqro Cherqos in Ethiopia. Mikael Muehlbauer offers a biography of this object from its inception as an inscribed arch in a Fatimid great mosque to its medieval use as a chancel and luxury item. The next two articles focus on India, explaining the function of a fifteenth-century monument and manuscript, respectively. Mohit Manohar tackles issues of race in analyzing the Chand Minar, arguing that this stone minaret was built to commemorate the role of African and Indian officers in a key military victory. Vivek Gupta interprets the Miftāḥ al-Fużalāʾ, a unique illustrated Persian dictionary, as an object of instruction that utilized wonder as a didactic tool. Laura Parodi identifies and reconstructs three sixteenth-century royal gardens in Kabul, which influenced their counterparts in the Mughal metropoles of Hindustan as well as Safavid Iran.
The next three articles concern Ottoman Tunisia: Youssef Ben Ismail traces the rise of the fez in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, considering the commercial and cultural history of the red felt cap with a focus on Tunisian merchants. Sihem Lamine interprets the Zaytuna minaret in Tunis (built in 1892) as a colonial object that signaled a shift in power from the Ottomans to the French protectorate through its neo-Almohad style. Ridha Moumni’s article on Tunisian archaeological history (Part II) likewise critically examines a French colonial project, the Bardo Museum, and demonstrates that native Tunisians had already laid the groundwork for the museum through archaeological and collecting efforts earlier in the nineteenth century.
Twentieth-century photography is featured in the following two essays, the first of which (by Sabiha Göloğlu) dissects the relationship between photography and painting in analyzing Miʿmarzade Muhammed ʿAli’s (d. 1938) oil-on-canvas painting of Mecca and Medina. Jacobé Huet appraises Le Corbusier’s Le Voyage d’Orient, published in 1965 and based on a 1914 typescript of his earlier travel notes, showing how the author’s late edits transform his youthful approach to traditional Mediterranean architecture.
In the Notes and Sources section, Anaïs Leone presents new data for reconstructing the luster tilework decoration of the tomb chamber of ʿAbd al-Samad’s shrine in central Iran. The final essay, by Ignacio Ferrer Pérez-Blanco and Marie-Pierre Zufferey, is an exhaustive study of the five muqarnas capitals in the Alhambra. By sculpting these capitals and comparing them to the proportions of muqarnas profiles in seventeenth-century Spanish carpentry treatises, the authors advance a formal understanding of “Western” muqarnas capitals and establish geometrical relationships that have long been unclear.