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Enlightening Europe on Islam and the Ottomans

Mouradgea d’Ohsson and His Masterpiece

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Carter Vaughn Findley

Mouradgea d’Ohsson’s Tableau général de l’Empire othoman offered the Enlightenment Republic of Letters its most authoritative work on Islam and the Ottomans, also a practical reference work for kings and statesmen. Profusely illustrated and opening deep insights into illustrated book production in this period, this is also the richest collection of visual documentation on the Ottomans in a hundred years. Shaped by the author’s personal struggles, the work yet commands recognition in its own totality as a monument to inter-cultural understanding. In form one of the great taxonomic works of Enlightenment thought, this is a work of advocacy in the cause of reform and amity among France, Sweden, and the Ottoman Empire.

Two Thousand Years in Dendi, Northern Benin

Archaeology, History and Memory

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Edited by Anne Haour

In Two Thousand Years in Dendi, Northern Benin an international team examines a little-known part of the Niger River valley, West Africa, over the longue durée. This area, known as Dendi, has often been portrayed as the crossroads of major West African medieval empires but this understanding has been based on a small number of very patchy historical sources. Working from the ground up, from the archaeological sites, standing remains, oral traditions and craft industries of Dendi, Haour and her team offer the first in-depth account of the area.

Contributors are: Paul Adderley, Mardjoua Barpougouni, Victor Brunfaut, Louis Champion, Annalisa Christie, Barbara Eichhorn, Anne Filippini, Dorian Fuller, Olivier Gosselain, David Kay, Nadia Khalaf, Nestor Labiyi, Raoul Laibi, Richard Lee, Veerle Linseele, Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Carlos Magnavita, Sonja Magnavita, Didier N'Dah, Nicolas Nikis, Sam Nixon, Franck N’Po Takpara, Jean-François Pinet, Ronika Power, Caroline Robion-Brunner, Lucie Smolderen, Abubakar Sule Sani, Romuald Tchibozo, Jennifer Wexler, Wim Wouters.

Communal Creativity in the Making of the 'Beowulf' Manuscript

Towards a History of Reception for the Nowell Codex

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Simon C. Thomson

In Communal Creativity in the Making of the ‘Beowulf’ Manuscript, Simon Thomson analyses details of scribal activity to tell a story about the project that preserved Beowulf as one of a collective, if error-strewn, endeavour and arguing for a date in Cnut’s reign. He presents evidence for the use of more than three exemplars and at least two artists as well as two scribes, making this an intentional and creative re-presentation uniting literature religious and heroic, in poetry and in prose.

He goes on to set it in the broader context of manuscript production in late Anglo-Saxon England as one example among many of communities using old literature in new ways, and of scribes working together, making mistakes, and learning.

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Sophie Raux

Lotteries, Art Markets, and Visual Culture examines lotteries as devices for distributing images and art objects, and constructing their value in the former Low Countries. Alongside the fairs and before specialist auction sales were established, they were an atypical but popular and large-scale form of the art trade. As part of a growing entrepreneurial sensibility based on speculation and a sense of risk, they lay behind many innovations. This study looks at their actors, networks and strategies. It considers the objects at stake, their value, and the forms of visual communication intended to boost an appetite for ownership. Ultimately, it contemplates how the lottery culture impacted notions of Fortune and Vanitas in the visual arts.

Incunabula in Transit

People and Trade

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Lotte Hellinga

Almost half a million books printed in the fifteenth century survive in collections worldwide. In Incunabula in Transit Lotte Hellinga explores how and where they were first disseminated. Propelled by the novel need to market hundreds of books, early printers formed networks with colleagues, engaged agents and traded Latin books over long distances. They adapted presentation to suit the taste of distinct readerships, local and remote. Publishing in vernacular languages required typographical innovations, as the chapter on William Caxton’s Flanders enterprise demonstrates. Eighteenth-century collectors dislodged books from institutions where they had rested since the sales drives of early printers. Erudite and entertaining, Hellinga’s evidence-based approach, linked to historical context, deepens understanding of the trade in early printed books.

A Modern Miscellany

Shanghai Cartoon Artists, Shao Xunmei’s Circle and the Travels of Jack Chen, 1926-1938

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Paul Bevan

In A Modern Miscellany: Shanghai Cartoon Artists, Shao Xunmei’s Circle and the Travels of Jack Chen, 1926-1938 Paul Bevan explores how the cartoon (manhua) emerged from its place in the Chinese modern art world to become a propaganda tool in the hands of left-wing artists. The artists involved in what was largely a transcultural phenomenon were an eclectic group working in the areas of fashion and commercial art and design. The book demonstrates that during the build up to all-out war the cartoon was not only important in the sphere of Shanghai popular culture in the eyes of the publishers and readers of pictorial magazines but that it occupied a central place in the primary discourse of Chinese modern art history.

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Edited by Gülru Necipoğlu and Maria J. Metzler

Muqarnas 34 features articles ranging from monumental architecture in seventh-century Jerusalem to modern Arab painting in Syria. It includes an archaeological study of the Agdal in Marrakesh, one of the few surviving medieval Islamic estates; as well as a fresh assessment of Ilkhanid polychrome stucco decoration in the Pir-i Bakran mausoleum. The volume contains several articles on interactions between Islamic and Christian societies as attested in architectural landscapes from the early modern period. One piece interprets an inscribed Renaissance gate at a Crimean palace; another provides a fascinating micro-history of Venetian merchants in Aleppo, who lived in commercial khans. Other highlights include an article exploring the impact of Shirazi poets and their tombs on the famous traveler, Pietro della Valle; and an investigation of the forgotten Galata New Mosque in Istanbul, built by the queen mother in 1698 to replace a prominent Catholic convent church following Ottoman military defeats.

The Notes and Sources section introduces several new texts, including a Neo-Latin poem that challenges recent modifications to the Alhambra’s iconic Fountain of Lions, and a hitherto undeciphered Persian chronogram poem, which sheds valuable light on the production sites of luster-painted ceramics in the Safavid period. Also featured is a sixteenth-century Arabic chronicle describing Ottoman construction projects in Mecca within the context of diplomatic relations between Istanbul and Gujarat.

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Edited by Ethan Matt Kavaler, Frits Scholten and Joanna Woodall

One of the principal arts in the Low Countries during the 16th century, sculpture was an important vehicle for supporting the social, religious and political interests of the church, the court, the cities and the nobility. The period saw the transition from an exuberant Gothic to a classicizing Renaissance style, a transformation in which sculpture assumed a leading role. In addition, statues were central to the cult of saints and commonly triggered iconophobia, which flared so spectacularly in the Beeldenstorm of 1566 and later riots. The essays in this volume cover a wide range of sculptural forms in the Low Countries, such as choir stalls, sacrament houses, carved altarpieces, funerary monuments, mantelpieces and small-scale cabinet sculptures. Issues of function, meaning, patronage and reception are central to these contributions, offering the most complete and accurate overview of the subject to date.

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Edited by Lynn Catterson

Dealing Art on Both Sides of the Atlantic, 1860-1940 aims to bring the marketplace dynamic into sharper focus with its essays which examine the many functionaries who participate in the art market network, among them, agents, scouts, intermediaries, restorers, fakers, decorators, advisers and experts. All of the essays are rooted in case studies which give voice to the various aspects of supply−from branding to marketing, from inventory to display, from restoration to pastiche to fabrication. Each is incredibly rich in their marshalling of primary sources and archival materials; in sum, they present an impressive array of new research.

Contributors are: Fae Brauer, Denise M. Budd, Patrizia Cappellini, Lynn Catterson, Sebastien Chaffour, Laura D. Corey, Flaminia Gennari-Santori, Jacqueline Marie Musacchio, Joanna Smalcerz, Alexandra Provo, AnnaLea Tunesi, and Leanne Zalewski.