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Muqarnas 37 introduces new research on Islamic material culture ranging from Abbasid period mosaics to the early twentieth-century art market. Featured articles include Charles Melville’s introduction of a chronicle that sheds light on the architectural program of Shah ʿAbbas I, in particular his patronage of the dynastic shrine at Ardabil. From the Ottoman period, two essays discuss painted manuscripts: the first traces shifting representations of urban space in late sixteenth-century Istanbul, and the second focuses on sumptuous objects—namely, candy gardens and decorated palms—accompanying the extraordinary 1720 circumcision festival under Sultan Ahmed III. Another article seeks to unravel the mysterious origins of an unusually sophisticated painting of Mecca from the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Other topics covered are archaeological finds in Tunisia, and the legacy of Russian modernization efforts in the architecture of East Anatolia, especially the city of Kars. The Notes and Sources section examines the waqfiyya of the earliest surviving Halveti lodge in Amasya, as well as the function of various types of lamps in contemporary Pakistani Sufi shrines.
Khālid ibn Ṣafwān in History and Literature
Portrait of an Eighth-Century Gentleman. Khālid ibn Ṣafwān in History and Literature by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila is an in-depth study of the eighth-century Umayyad and early Abbasid orator and courtier Khālid ibn Ṣafwān and the development of his character in adab literature. The book collects and translates all his sayings and stories about him culled from a wide range of Arabic and Persian texts.

In the book, Hämeen-Anttila studies the mechanisms of change in early narratives, showing how Arabic anecdotes developed and were modified by a series of authors during both their oral and literary transmission, changing a historical person into a literary character. Detailed chapters discuss Khālid in his various roles and analyse the literary techniques of the stories.
Breaching the Bronze Wall deals with the idea that the word of honorable Muslims constituted proof and with the concept that written documents and the word of non-Muslims were inferior. Foreign merchants in cities like Istanbul, Damascus or Alexandria could barely prove any claim, as neither their contracts nor their words were of any value if countered by Muslims. Francisco Apellániz explores how both groups labored to overcome these ‘biases against non-Muslims’ in the courts and markets of Mamluk Egypt and Syria of the 14th and 15th centuries, and how the Ottoman conquest (1517) imposed a new, orthodox view on the problem. The book dives into the Middle Eastern archive and the Ottoman Dīvān, and scrutinizes the intricacies of sharia and the handling of these intracacies by consuls, dragomans, qaḍīs and other legal actors.
In Carrying on the Tradition Garrett Davidson employs a variety of largely unutilized print, as well as archival sources collected from the Near East, North Africa, India, Europe, and North America. He analyses these sources to excavate the fundamental reinvention of the conceptions and practices of hadith transmission that resulted from the establishment of the hadith canon. Further, the book examines how hadith scholars reimagined the transmission of hadith, not as a scholarly tool, as it had originally been, but instead as, among other things, an act of pious emulation of the forefathers. It demonstrates the emergence of new genres and subgenres of hadith literature, as a result of this shift, examining them as artefacts of the cultural, social, and intellectual history of Muslim religiosity from the tenth to twentieth centuries.
Cities of Medieval Iran brings together studies in urban geography, archaeology, and history of medieval Iranian cities, spanning the Islamic period until ca. 1500, but also the pre-Islamic situation. The cities and their inhabitants take centre stage, they are not just the places where something else happened. Urban actors are given priority over external factors. The contributions take a long-term perspective and thus take the interaction between urban centres and their hinterland into account. Many contributions come from history or archaeology, but new disciplines are also methodologically integrated into the study of medieval cities, such as the arts of the book, lexicography, geomorphology, and digital instruments.

Contributors include Denise Aigle, Mehrdad Amanat, Jean Aubin, Richard W. Bulliet, Jamsheed K. Choksy, David Durand-Guédy, Etienne de La Vaissière, Majid Montazer Mahdi, Roy P. Mottahedeh, Jürgen Paul, Rocco Rante, Sarah Savant, Ali Shojai Esfahani, Donald Whitcomb and Daniel Zakrzewski.
Sufism through the Eyes of ʿImād al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Wāsiṭī (d. 711/1311)
The Journeys of a Taymiyyan Sufi examines the life and doctrine of ʿImād al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Wāsiṭī (d. 711/1311), a little-known Ḥanbalī Sufi master from the circle of Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328). The first part of this book follows al-Wāsiṭī’s physical journey in search of spiritual guidance through a critical study of his autobiographical writings. This provides unique insights into several important manifestations of Sufism that he encountered as he travelled from Wāsiṭ to Baghdad, Alexandria, Cairo, and finally, Damascus. The second part focuses on his spiritual journey through a study of his Sufi writings, which convey a distinct type of Sufism that was specifically formulated within the boundaries of traditionalist theology as he understood it.
Rembrandt: Studies in his Varied Approaches to Italian Art explores ways in which Rembrandt exploited imagery by foremost Italian artists. His references fall loosely into three categories: pragmatic adaptations, critical commentary, and conceptual rivalry. These are not mutually exclusive but provide a strategy for discussion.

This study includes a discussion of Dutch artists’ attitudes toward traveling south, a survey of criticism and praise toward Rembrandt by those who were familiar with his work in the seventeenth century, and an overview of his own art collection and how he used it. It concludes with the reception of Rembrandt by Italian artists with respect to the Ruffo commission, and a discussion of the vocabulary applied to Rembrandt’s art by Italians.
Robert Lachmann’s letters to Henry George Farmer, from the years 1923-38, provide insightful glimpses into his life and his progressive research projects. From an historical perspective, they offer critical data concerning the development of comparative musicology as it evolved in Germany during the early decades of the twentieth century. The fact that Lachmann sought contact with Farmer can be explained from their mutual, yet diverse interests in Arab music, particularly as they were then considered to be the foremost European scholars in the field. During the 1932 Cairo International Congress on Arab Music, they were selected as presidents of their respective committees.
Eurasian Parallels, Connections and Divergences
The concept, practice, institution and appearance of ‘the state’ have been hotly debated ever since the emergence of history as a discipline within modern scholarship. The field of medieval Islamic history, however, has remained aloof from most of these debates. Rather it tends to take for granted the particularity of dynastic trajectories within only slowly changing bureaucratic contexts. Trajectories of State Formation promotes a more critical and connected understanding of state formation in the late medieval Sultanates of Cairo and of the Timurid, Turkmen and Ottoman dynasties. Projecting seven case studies onto a broad canvas of European and West-Asian research, this volume presents a trans-dynastic reconstruction, interpretation and illustration of statist trajectories across fifteenth century Islamic West-Asia.

Contributors include: Contributors are: Georg Christ, Kristof D’hulster, Jan Dumolyn, Albrecht Fuess, Dimitri J. Kastritsis, Beatrice Forbes Manz, John L. Meloy, Jo Van Steenbergen, and Patrick Wing.
Editor: Gábor Kármán
Tributaries and Peripheries of the Ottoman Empire offers twelve studies on the relationship between Ottoman tributaries with each other in the imperial framework, as well as with neighboring border provinces of the empire’s core territories from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. A variety of surveys related to the Cossack Ukraine, the Crimean Khanate, Dagestan, Moldavia, Ragusa, Transylvania, Upper Hungary and Wallachia allow the reader to see hitherto less known subtleties of the Ottoman administration’s hierarchic structures and the liberties and restrictions of the office-holders’ power. They also shed light upon the strategies of coalition-building among the elites of the tributaries as well as the core provinces of the border zones, which determined their cooperation, but also the competition between them.

Contributors include: János B. Szabó, Ovidiu Cristea, Tetiana Grygorieva, Klára Jakó, Gábor Kármán, Dariusz Kołodziejczyk, Natalia Królikowska-Jedlińska, Erica Mezzoli, Viorel Panaite, Radu G. Păun, Ruža Radoš Ćurić, Balázs Sudár, Michał Wasiucionek.