This article discusses two near-complete ceramic vessels—a deep, cup-shaped bowl and a shallow bowl/plate—found in recent excavations carried out at the rural site of el-Khirba/Nes Ziyyona in central Israel, in an early Abbasid context dated to the ninth century. The vessels bear unusual painted decorations on their exterior and interior. The decoration of the first bowl consists of alternating pairs of large black and white palm trees and large birds. The second bowl/plate is decorated with eight stylized trees emerging from a central circle, with small circles between them; these motifs were drawn in black over a white-painted surface. These bowls are associated with a local fine ware ceramic group, known as Fine Byzantine (or Fine Islamic) Ware, which originated in the Jerusalem region. However, their decorations reflect stylistic traditions familiar across the Early Islamic Near East and beyond, including from statuary works, illustrated manuscripts, and other ceramics. Altogether, it can be suggested that rural elites in Early Islamic Palestine used luxury ceramics decorated with pan-Islamic patterns as a way of identifying themselves with cosmopolitan, pan-Islamic society.
In the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece, is a heretofore unknown large-format volume that contains many extra illustrations, original drawings, and proofs of plates for The Arabian Antiquities of Spain by James Cavanah Murphy (1760–1814). Based on research conducted between 1802 and 1809, The Arabian Antiquities of Spain features engravings of major monuments of Hispano-Islamic architecture, including the Alhambra, the Great Mosque at Cordoba, and the Generalife at Granada; the work was published posthumously in 1816. Since the Gennadius volume also includes sketches of Islamic monuments from Malaga, Seville, and Xeres, it appears that Murphy originally intended to publish a complete survey of Hispano-Islamic monuments in southern Spain. In the Gennadius volume, grangerized drawings are placed opposite published engravings for comparative purposes; the drawings include notes written by Murphy to the engravers, and several are hand-tinted, which reveal Murphy’s interest in polychromy. This article presents the newly discovered drawings in the Gennadius volume, which adds to our understanding of the monuments depicted in the published plates of Arabian Antiquities, and serves to position Murphy’s pioneering efforts in the context of architectural scholarship, chromolithography, and the book trade in the early nineteenth century.
Long regarded as disturbing remnants of the Atlantic slave trade, the European forts and castles of West Africa have attained iconic positions as universally significant historical monuments and world heritage tourist destinations. This volume of original contributions by leading Africanists presents extensive new historical views of the forts in Ghana and Benin, providing both impetus and a scholarly basis for further research and fresh debate about their historical and geographical contexts; their role in the slave trade; the economic and political connections, centred on the forts, between the Europeans and local African polities; and their place in variously focused heritage studies and endeavours.
Contributors are Hermann W. von Hesse, Daniel Hopkins, Jon Olav Hove, Ole Justesen, Ineke van Kessel, Robin Law, John Kwadwo Osei-Tutu, Jarle Simensen, Selena Axelrod Winsnes†, Larry Yarak.
This edited volume follows the panel “Earth in Islamic Architecture” organised for the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) in Ankara, on the 19th of August 2014. Earthen architecture is well-known among archaeologists and anthropologists whose work extends from Central Asia to Spain, including Africa. However, little collective attention has been paid to earthen architecture within Muslim cultures. This book endeavours to share knowledge and methods of different disciplines such as history, anthropology, archaeology and architecture. Its objective is to establish a link between historical and archaeological studies given that Muslim cultures cannot be dissociated from social history.
Contributors: Marinella Arena; Mounia Chekhab-Abudaya; Christian Darles; François-Xavier Fauvelle; Elizabeth Golden; Moritz Kinzel; Rolando Melo da Rosa; Atri Hatef Naiemi; Bertrand Poissonnier; Stéphane Pradines; Paola Raffa and Paul D. Wordsworth.