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Author: Guy Burak

Abstract

This essay is an attempt to read the section on invocations, prayers, the unique qualities of the Quran and magic squares of the palace library of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (d. 918/1512) along with several works by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Bisṭāmī (d. c. 858/1454 or 1455) to cast light on underexamined perceptions of calligraphic styles and alphabets/scripts employed to inscribe talismanic objects and manuscripts. Methodologically, the intention is to situate the inventory of the palace library in the intersection of prescriptive texts, on the one hand, and talismanic objects and manuscripts of invocations, on the other. By taking the inventory as a document of practice, the essay seeks to illustrate the importance of paying attention to other elements of the talismanic compound in general, and to the use of alphabets/scripts with their specific talismanic attributes in particular.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Free access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Free access
In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

Mohism and Confucianism are usually characterized as utilitarian and anti-utilitarian, respectively. This article argues that although Confucians do not espouse the kind of utilitarianism found in the Mozi, both Confucianism and Mohism qualify as forms of consequentialism in emphasizing that the outcome of a given behavior or action constitutes the basis for determining whether the latter qualifies as morally good. Through an analysis of the classical texts of the Analects and the Mengzi, I demonstrate that the similarities between the Confucian and Mohist perspectives on yi and li are much greater than their supposed differences, which have generally been taken for granted. Like Mohism, Confucianism upholds what we might call a “deliberated utilitarianism.”

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

Abstract

Pre-Qin era Mohist thought was endowed with a Confucian legacy as well as a critical eye and a unique set of ideas. These ideas later affected Legalist thought and attracted criticism from Mencius, Xunzi, and Zhuangzi, and many disputes arose thereafter between the later Mohists. Mohist thought can be broadly characterized as possessing distinctively ethical, rational, and practical features, and we can identify three main aspects of the modern transformation of Mohist philosophy. The first derives from Mozi’s statement on “[the endeavor to] procure benefits for the world and eliminate its calamities,” which can be interpreted as calling on humanity to resolve regional issues from a global viewpoint. The second draws upon Mozi’s statement on “universal love and mutual aid” to promote a manner of thinking that embraces peace at a global level and cultivates strong worldwide environmental awareness. The third draws upon Mozi’s ideas of “identification with the superior” and “Mohist methods of thinking” to promote a type of technological integration that incorporates cultural and social approaches and scientific thought to establish a global teaching system.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

Abstract

Through the study of the materiality of three works from collections in Doha, Paris and Amsterdam, this paper intends to fill a gap in the knowledge of découpage calligraphy in Iran and shed light on its production processes. First, the origins and the context of the art will be explored through ancient and modern sources, followed by an examination of the tools used and the techniques of production, and finally an insight into the purpose or la raison d’être of the découpage technique will be presented.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World

Abstract

This article focuses on the engagement of three scholars of the nineteenth century, later to be called scholars of the nahḍa, with an Arabic grammar manual titled Baḥth al-maṭālib wa-ḥathth al-ṭālib (“The Pursuit of the Questions and the Encouragement of the Student”), supposedly written in 1705 by the Maronite monk Jibrīl (later Jirmānūs) Farḥāt (1670–1732). The scholars considered in this contribution are Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq (d. 1887), Buṭrus al-Bustānī (d. 1883), and Saʿīd al-Khūrī al-Shartūnī (d. 1912). They engaged with this text by editing and printing it, and by making it available for use in Ottoman public schools. Through a close reading of representative excerpts from their printed editions, this article explores the three scholars’ philological engagement with Baḥth al-maṭālib and its multiple uses in nineteenth-century schools. The ways in which they worked on the text, it is argued, illustrate their different pedagogical approaches towards the teaching of the Arabic language.

In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

This report presents the results of an archaeological mission done in the Maldives archipelago located to the south-west of India, in the Indian Ocean. In November 2017, we carried out archaeological excavations and surveys as well as collected oral traditions on two sites, the Fandiyaaru Mosque and Koagannu Cemetery in Hulhumeeddhoo town on Addu Atoll and the Friday Mosque of Fenfushi on Alifu Dhaalu Atoll. Two outcomes were expected from our mission: first, to provide new scientific data on the coral mosques of the Maldives in order to improve the chances of success of nomination of the mosques on the World Heritage List of UNESCO; then to support the conservation project of the Maldivian government and international organisations such as UNESCO and the World Monuments Fund (WMF). One major question during our excavation was the continuity of the settlements from pre-Islamic cultures and influences from Buddhist architecture on local Islamic architecture.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World