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In The Islamic Funerary Inscriptions of Bahrain, Pre-1317 AH/1900 AD, the authors present a study of the funerary inscriptions based upon fieldwork completed in Bahrain between 2013-2015. A comprehensive illustrated catalogue of 150 gravestones in 26 locations is provided with transcription of the inscriptions into modern Arabic and translation into English. Subjects considered include: the history of Islamic burial, gravestone, and cemetery research on Bahrain, gravestone chronology, gravestone and cemetery types, stone sources and gravestone manufacture, the gravestone inscriptions, content, iconography and decoration, and the archaeology of the shrines and cemeteries in which some of the gravestones were found, contemporary practices relating to cemeteries, graves, and gravestones, the threats facing the gravestones, and management options for protecting and presenting the gravestones.
Archaeology, History and Memory
Editor: 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.
Muqarnas 35 begins in Almohad Marrakesh, with one article analyzing the plan of the twelfth-century Kutubiyya Mosque and another on the hydraulics, architecture, and agriculture of the Agdal, a medieval Islamic estate that continues to be cultivated. The volume also contains an essay discussing the patronage and decoration of the Begumpuri Masjid of Jahanpanah (Delhi), with an accompanying note tracing the history of glazed tiles. Several articles challenge long-held scholarly assumptions on topics such as Mughal portraiture and the atypical square-tower minarets in Herzegovina. Other essays deal with questions of cultural identity, whether manifested in grand-scale architectural monuments or in personal belongings—for example, the family photo album with portraits of Ottoman sultans compiled by a Hungarian woman who immigrated to Istanbul in the mid-nineteenth century; and an illustrated genealogy from seventeenth-century Baghdad that represents tensions between the Ottomans and Safavids. Rounding out the volume is a history of modern art in Baghdad, focusing on the painter Jewad Selim and his encounter with Yahya al-Wasiti’s illustrations of the Maqāmāt al-Ḥarīrī. The Notes and Sources section announces the discovery of two rare early Abbasid painted ceramic bowls from recent excavations in central Israel. It also features a study of a nineteenth-century Persian manuscript on porcelain manufacture; as well as a heretofore-unknown manuscript of The Arabian Antiquities of Spain by the Irish architect James Cavanah Murphy, with many extra illustrations, original drawings, and proofs of plates. Volume 35 includes articles by Julio Navarro et al., Abbey Stockstill, Yves Porter and Richard Castinel, Laura E. Parodi, Melis Taner, Maximilian Hartmuth, Nebahat Avcıoğlu, Saleem al-Bahloly, Itamar Taxel et al., Mehran and Moujan Matin, and Lynda S. Mulvin.

Abstract

This essay closely examines three early Mughal portraits—the Portrait of Shah Abuʾl-Maʿali, Portrait of Mir Musavvir, and an alleged self-portrait of Mir Sayyid ʿAli—as well as a seal impression from an early sixteenth-century copy of Jamal al-Din Husayni Shirazi’s Rawżat al-Aḥbāb. The resulting scenario challenges certain scholarly assumptions that are based on a blind acceptance of the narrative contained in official Mughal sources. The analysis serves to substantiate and articulate evidence on the role of Central Asian elites (more specifically, religious elites) in the early Mughal period. It also contributes to the socio-historical contextualization of Mughal paintings on the basis of the inscriptions contained in them and stimulates further discussion on the origins of Mughal portraiture.

In: Muqarnas Online

Abstract

The Agdal is a royal estate located south of Marrakesh, founded by the Almohad caliph Abu Yaʿqub Yusuf (r. 1163–84). Its current walled perimeter contains 340 hectares, mostly orchards that have been cultivated uninterruptedly, and more than 40 preserved buildings, with numerous archaeological remains scattered throughout its interior. This article is a continuation of one published previously in Muqarnas 34 (2017), which focused on the history of the estate and provided an analysis of the written sources. In this second part, we present an archaeological and architectural study of the Agdal from the material record that we documented in two archaeological surveys carried out in 2012 and 2014. We discuss the complex hydraulic system that has sustained the estate, the internal organization of the enclosures and plots, its diverse agricultural production, the configuration of palatine architecture and spaces for animals, as well as the successive historical transformations of the Agdal.

In: Muqarnas Online

Abstract

This essay explores how the re-encounter with a medieval history of manuscript illustration laid a foundation for the practice of modern art in Iraq. It focuses on the artist Jewad Selim (1919–61) and his discovery of Yahya al-Wasiti’s illustrations of the Maqāmāt al-Ḥarīrī, but it also marks the ways in which that discovery was mediated by the enterprise of orientalist scholarship, the context of European modernism, and the broader cultural renewal that occurred with the collapse of the Ottoman empire and the creation of new nation-states in the Middle East.

In: Muqarnas Online

Abstract

This paper focuses on an early seventeenth-century illustrated genealogy (Museum of Ethnography Ankara, No. 8457), which is stylistically attributable to Baghdad, and is iconographically and textually pro-Safavid at a point when Baghdad was under Ottoman rule. Taking the format of the illustrated genealogy, which was widespread in the Otto­man realm from the mid-sixteenth century onwards, the Ankara manuscript adapts the Ottoman genealogical tree tradition with a particularly Safavid tenor. In its immediate visual graspability and use of the genealogy as a methodological tool to claim legitimacy, this manuscript represents contested identities in the frontier province of Baghdad.

In: Muqarnas Online

Abstract

This article is a study of the family photo album of Elisabeth Leitner (ca. 1842?–1908), a Hungarian immigrant in the Ottoman empire. The album contains a complete set of cartes de visite portraits of the Ottoman sultans by the Abdullah Frères. As the only surviving example of such a collection with a known provenance, it provides a rare opportunity for understanding how such images were used in the context of identity formation and social mobility undertaken by a member of the immigrant population. The album, which has never been studied before, is also a fascinating source for investigating the history of Hungarian immigrants in the Ottoman empire who were displaced after the 1848 Revolution. The article approaches the intriguingly autobiographical album by means of a close reading of Elisabeth Leitner’s diaries and unfinished autobiography. My interpretation serves to dismantle notions of a carefree global cosmopolitanism and exposes a historiographical bias that privileges men and their collections of images and ethnographic artifacts over those of women. Elisabeth Leitner’s writings and photographic collection also represent a vast and entirely untapped resource for investigating cultural contacts between Europe and the Ottoman empire in the second half of the nineteenth century.

In: Muqarnas Online
In: Muqarnas Online

Abstract

The Begumpuri or Jamiʿ (Friday) Masjid of Jahanpanah (Delhi) is an impressive monument built during the Tughluq period, circa 1343. Although often credited to Firuz Shah (1351–88), the mosque was probably ordered by Muhammad Shah Tughluq (1325–51), since it was situated next to his royal palace in the heart of his capital (Jahanpanah). The Begumpuri Masjid represents a particular phase in the sequence of Tughluq architecture, both for its plan and elevation, and for its architectural decoration. It has often been described as a “Persianate” four-iwan mosque, although such a designation seems inappropriate. This article explores the probable patronage of the mosque by Muhammad Tughluq and its siting at the center of Jahanpanah. The plan and elevation of the mosque are detailed, with a discussion on the possible models for the building, together with its vernacular characteristics. We then present a study of the architectural decoration, made in stone, stucco, and turquoise glazed tiles. The peculiar features of the Begumpuri Masjid make it a unique monument celebrating the grandeur of Muhammad Tughluq through its huge and void court, as well as in its mulūk khāna (Royal Loggia).

In: Muqarnas Online