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Author: Tawfiq Daʿadli
In Esoteric Images: Decoding the Late Herat School of Painting Tawfiq Daʿadli decodes the pictorial language which flourished in the city of Herat, modern Afghanistan, under the rule of the last Timurid ruler, Sultan Husayn Bayqara (r.1469-1506). This study focuses on one illustrated manuscript of a poem entitled Khamsa by the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, kept in the British Library under code Or.6810. Tawfiq Daʿadli decodes the paintings, reveals the syntax behind them and thus deciphers the message of the whole manuscript. The book combines scholarly efforts to interpret theological-political lessons embedded in one of the foremost Persian schools of art against the background of the court dynamic of an influential medieval power in its final years.
Author: Barry Wood
The Adventures of Shāh Esmāʿil recounts the dramatic formative years of the Safavid empire (1501–1722), as preserved in Iranian popular memory by coffeehouse storytellers and written down in manuscripts starting in the late seventeenth century. Beginning with the Safavids’ saintly ancestors in Ardabil, the story goes on to relate the conquests of Shāh Esmāʿil (r. 1501–1524) and his devoted Qezelbāsh followers as they battle Torkmāns, Uzbeks, Ottomans, and even Georgians and Ethiopians in their quest to establish a Twelver Shiʿi realm. Barry Wood’s translation brings out the verve and popular tone of the Persian text. A heady mixture of history and legend, The Adventures of Shāh Esmāʿil sheds important light on the historical self-awareness of late Safavid Iran.
From 17th Century Drawings to Spacecraft Imaging
If any scientific object has over the course of human history aroused the fascination of both scientists and artists worldwide, it is beyond doubt the moon. The moon is also by far the most interesting celestial body when it comes to reflecting on the dualistic nature of photography as applied to the study of the universe. Against this background, Selene’s Two Faces sets out to look at the scientific purpose, aesthetic expression, and influence of early lunar drawings, maps and photographs, including spacecraft imaging. In its approach, Selene’s Two Faces is intermedial, intercultural and interdisciplinary. It brings together not only various media (photography, maps, engravings, lithographs, globes, texts), and cultures (from Europe, America and Asia), but also theoretical perspectives.
Shahnama Studies III focuses on the hugely successful afterlife of the Shahnama or Book of Kings, completed by the poet Firdausi around 1010 AD. This long epic grew out to be an icon of Persian culture and served as a source of inspiration for art and literature, leaving its traces in manifold ways. The contributors to this volume each treat an aspect of the rich legacy of the Shahnama and offer new insights in Shahnama manuscript studies, the illustration of the Shahnama, the phenomenon of later epics, and the Shahnama in later texts and contexts.
A Persian Compendium on Similar and Complementary Interlocking Figures. A Volume Commemorating Alpay Özdural
This collective study focuses on a unique anonymous medieval document on ornamental geometry featuring geometrical constructions and textual instructions in Persian. Selections from the unpublished work of Alpay Özdural (d. 2003) on this subject have been updated with original contributions by Jan P. Hogendijk, Elaheh Kheirandish, Gülru Necipoğlu, and Wheeler M. Thackston. The chapters interpreting this fascinating document are followed, for the first time, by a facsimile, transcription, and translation, as well as drawings of incised construction lines invisible in the photographed facsimile.

This publication intersects with the current interest in Islamic geometrical patterning as an inspiration for tessellation and parametrically derived forms in contemporary architecture and the arts. It aims to make this celebrated source more accessible, given its multifaceted relevance to historians of art, architecture, and science, as well as mathematicians, physicists, artists, and architects.

For those who wish to obtain a copy of the full, unedited original book manuscript of Alpay Özdural, where he discusses the mathematical properties of all geometrical constructions in the Anonymous Compendium as well as the step-by-step method for drawing each one, his work is available online at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5255416


The five Diez albums in Berlin, acquired by Heinrich Friedrich von Diez in Constantinople around 1789, contain more than 400 figurative paintings, drawings, fragments, and calligraphic works originating for the most part from Ilkhanid, Jalayirid, and Timurid workshops. Gonnella, Weis and Rauch unite in this volume 21 essays that analyse their relation to their “parent” albums at the Topkapı Palace or examine specific works by reflecting upon their role in the larger history of book art in Iran. Other essays cover aspects such as the European and Chinese influence on Persianate art, aspects related to material and social culture, and the Ottoman interest in Persianate albums. This book marks an important contribution to the understanding of the development of illustrative imagery in the Persianate world and its later perception.

Contributors are: Serpil Bağcı, Barbara Brend, Massumeh Farhad, Julia Gonnella, Claus-Peter Haase, Oliver Hahn, Robert Hillenbrand, Yuka Kadoi, Charles Melville, Gülru Necipoğlu, Bernard O'Kane, Filiz Ҫakır Phillip, Yves Porter, Julian Raby, Christoph Rauch, Simon Rettig, David J. Roxburgh, Karin Rührdanz, Zeren Tanındı, Lâle Uluç, Ching-Ling Wang, and Friederike Weis.
Editor: Yuka Kadoi
In Arthur Upham Pope and A New Survey of Persian Art, fourteen scholars explore the legacy of Arthur Upham Pope (1881–1969) by tracing the formation of Persian art scholarship and connoisseurship during the twentieth century. Widely considered as a self-made scholar, curator, and entrepreneur, Pope was credited for establishing the basis of what we now categorize broadly as Persian art. His unrivalled professional achievement, together with his personal charisma, influenced the way in which many scholars and collectors worldwide came to understand the art, architecture and material culture of the Persian world. This ultimately resulted in the establishment of the aesthetic criteria for assessing the importance of cultural remains from modern-day Iran.

With contributions by Lindsay Allen, Sheila S. Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, Talinn Grigor, Robert Hillenbrand, Yuka Kadoi, Sumru Belger Krody, Judith A. Lerner, Kimberly Masteller, Cornelia Montgomery, Bernard O’Kane, Keelan Overton, Laura Weinstein, and Donald Whitcomb.
The Didactic Images of the Manichaeans from Sasanian Mesopotamia to Uygur Central Asia and Tang-Ming China
The founder of Manichaeism, Mani (216-274/277 CE), not only wrote down his teachings to prevent their adulteration, but also created a set of paintings—the Book of Pictures—to be used in the context of oral instruction. That pictorial handscroll and its later editions became canonical art for Mani's followers for a millennium afterwards. This richly illustrated study systematically explores the artistic culture of religious instruction of the Manichaeans based on textual and artistic evidence. It discusses the doctrinal themes (soteriology, prophetology, theology, and cosmology) depicted in Mani’s canonical pictures. Moreover, it identifies 10th-century fragments of canonical picture books, as well as select didactic images adapted to other, non-canonical art objects (murals, hanging scrolls, mortuary banners, and illuminated liturgical manuscripts) in Uygur Central Asia and Tang-Ming China.
Author: Rocco Rante
This book offers a new history of the ancient city of Rayy. Based on the results of the latest excavations on the Citadel and the Shahrestan (the political and administrative nucleus of the city in all periods), the study of historical and geographical texts and on surveys carried out between 2005 and 2007 by the author and the Iranian archaeologist, Ghadir Afround, the complete occupation sequence of the city, from its foundation in the Iron Age and the Parthian reconstructions (2nd to 1st centuries BC), up to the Mongol invasions and rapid depopulation in the 13th century CE, comes to light.
Persian Pottery in the First Global Age: the Sixteenth and Seventeeth Centuries studies the ceramic industry of Iran in the Safavid period (1501–1732) and the impact which the influx of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain, heightened by the activities of the English and Dutch East Indies Companies after c. 1700, had on local production.
The multidisciplinary approach of the authors (Lisa Golombek, Robert B. Mason, Patricia Proctor, Eileen Reilly) leads to a reconstruction of the narrative about Safavid pottery and revises commonly accepted notions. The book includes easily accessible reference charts to assist in dating and provenancing Safavid pottery on the basis of diagnostic motifs, potters’ marks, petrofabrics, shapes, and Chinese models.