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Muqarnas 36 features a stunning variety of Islamic art genres, ranging from monumental architecture, manuscripts, textiles, and tiles, to inscriptions, material objects, and forgery. It sweeps across India, Iran, and Turkey, and concludes in Britain, with the discovery of an Ashmolean Museum objet d’art that is not exactly what it is advertised to be.
The volume begins with an overview by Finbarr Barry Flood of the architecture, calligraphy, epigraphy, painting, and portable arts of pre-Mughal Islamicate South Asia. Pre-Mughal court culture has always played second fiddle to the overwhelming hegemony and brilliance of the Mughal dynasty but in its regional heterogeneity it is more than worthy of study. This is followed by two essays examining manuscript illumination: Cailah Jackson, 2017 winner of the Margaret B. Ševčenko Prize in Islamic Art and Culture, discusses two manuscripts illuminated by Mukhlis ibn ʿAbdallah al-Hindi in thirteenth-century Konya; and Denise-Marie Teece treats the early sixteenth-century Safīna manuscript (Biblioteca Reale Ms. Or. 101), its illuminator Ruzbehan al-Modhahheb, and its unique six-page preface. A Byzantine stole with embroidered Arabic inscriptions in the collection of Vatopediou Monastery on Mount Athos is the subject of the fourth essay by Nikolaos Vryzidis. The volume’s seven essays conclude with three investigations into Ottoman art history: the blue-and-white tiles of the Baba Naqqaş style of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, as prominently displayed in the Muradiye Mosque in Edirne (Patricia Blessing), the architectural book Risāle-i Miʿmāriyye of the seventeenth-century Caʿfer Efendi and in particular his notes on surveying and the architect’s cubit (Gül Kale), and the evolution of the late sixteenth-century Ottoman custom of requiring the sultan to be victorious over the non-Muslim enemy and to only use spoils from the holy war in the construction of a sultanic mosque (Samet Budak).
The Notes and Sources section continues with Bill Hickman’s analysis of the tantalizing calligraphed tiles of the now destroyed mosque built for the Sufi shaykh and poet Eşrefoğlu Rumi (d. 1469?), and two communications about artifacts on British soil: a wooden box, believed to have contained the heart of Abbot Roger de Norton (d. 1291), with an Arabic inscription that is now deciphered by Barry Knight, 147 years after its discovery; and a gorgeous Persian luster bowl in Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, which when subjected to UV examination, revealed that it was a product of extensive repair, or “restoration,” over the centuries. A systematic examination of the bowl and its remarkable history by Francesca Leoni and her colleagues uncovers a level of fakery of antiques that, it is suggested, might be prevalent in museum ceramic collections.
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.
Editor: Kishwar Rizvi
Affect, Emotion and Subjectivity in Early Modern Muslim Empires presents new approaches to Ottoman Safavid and Mughal art and culture. Taking artistic agency as a starting point, the authors consider the rise in status of architects, the self-fashioning of artists, the development of public spaces, as well as new literary genres that focus on the individual subject and his or her place in the world. They consider the issue of affect as performative and responsive to certain emotions and actions, thus allowing insights into the motivations behind the making and, in some cases, the destruction of works of art. The interconnected histories of Iran,Turkey and India thus highlight the urban and intellectual changes that defined the early modern period.

Contributors are: Sussan Babaie, Chanchal Dadlani, Jamal Elias, Emine Fetvaci, Christiane Gruber, Sylvia Hougteling, Kishwar Rizvi, Sunil Sharma, and Marianna Shreve Simpson.
Muqarnas 34 features articles ranging from monumental architecture in seventh-century Jerusalem to modern Arab painting in Syria. It includes an archaeological study of the Agdal in Marrakesh, one of the few surviving medieval Islamic estates; as well as a fresh assessment of Ilkhanid polychrome stucco decoration in the Pir-i Bakran mausoleum. The volume contains several articles on interactions between Islamic and Christian societies as attested in architectural landscapes from the early modern period. One piece interprets an inscribed Renaissance gate at a Crimean palace; another provides a fascinating micro-history of Venetian merchants in Aleppo, who lived in commercial khans. Other highlights include an article exploring the impact of Shirazi poets and their tombs on the famous traveler, Pietro della Valle; and an investigation of the forgotten Galata New Mosque in Istanbul, built by the queen mother in 1698 to replace a prominent Catholic convent church following Ottoman military defeats.

The Notes and Sources section introduces several new texts, including a Neo-Latin poem that challenges recent modifications to the Alhambra’s iconic Fountain of Lions, and a hitherto undeciphered Persian chronogram poem, which sheds valuable light on the production sites of luster-painted ceramics in the Safavid period. Also featured is a sixteenth-century Arabic chronicle describing Ottoman construction projects in Mecca within the context of diplomatic relations between Istanbul and Gujarat.

In Narratives of Kingship in Eurasian Empires, 1300-1800 Richard van Leeuwen analyses representations and constructions of the idea of kingship in fictional texts of various genres, especially belonging to the intermediate layer between popular and official literature. The analysis shows how ideologies of power are embedded in the literary and cultural imagination of societies, their cultural values and conceptualizations of authority. By referring to examples from various empires (Chinese, Indian, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, European) the parallels between literary traditions are laid bare, revealing remarkable common concerns. The process of interaction and transmission are highlighted to illustrate how literature served as a repository for ideological and cultural values transforming power into authority in various imperial environments.
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


Indonesian Manuscripts from the Islands of Java, Madura, Bali and Lombok discusses aspects of the long and impressive manuscript traditions of these islands, which share many aspects of manuscript production. Many hitherto unaddressed features of palm-leaf manuscripts are discussed here for the first time as well as elements of poetic texts, indications of mistakes, colophons and the calendrical information used in these manuscripts. All features discussed are explained with photographs. The introductory chapters offer insights into these traditions in a wider setting and the way researchers have studied them. This original and pioneering work also points out what topics needs further exploration to understand these manuscript traditions that use a variety of materials, languages, and scripts to a wider public.
Muqarnas 33 contains articles that range chronologically and geographically from a study of architectural innovations in the early mosque under the Umayyads to an analysis of archaeological finds in medieval Armenia, the book culture of Bijapur, and a discussion of a nineteenth-century Muslim cemetery in Malta. Readers will also discover essays on, respectively, the influence of a Tabrizi workshop on Cairene architecture in the fourteenth century, and the brilliant ceramic tiles of the fifteenth-century Uzun Hasan Mosque in Tabriz, as well as the latest research on the coffeehouses of Safavid Isfahan and on the architectural patronage of Shah ʿAbbas. A study of a Timurid pilgrimage scroll in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha and an essay on Bihari calligraphy round out the volume. The Notes and Sources section features a never-before-published treatise on the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul. Muqarnas 33 includes articles by Heba Mostafa, Diana Isaac Bakhoum, Sandra Aube, David Roxburgh and Mounia Abudaya-Chehkhab, Eloïse Brac de la Perrière, Keelan Overton, Charles Melville, Farshid Emami, Conrad Thake, Ünver Rüstem, and Hans Barnard, Sneha Shah, Gregory E. Areshian, and Kym F. Faull.

Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World is sponsored by the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Nasrin Askari explores the medieval reception of Firdausī’s Shāhnāma, or Book of Kings (completed in 1010 CE) as a mirror for princes. Through her examination of a wide range of medieval sources, Askari demonstrates that Firdausī’s oeuvre was primarily understood as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly elites. In order to illustrate the ways in which the Shāhnāma functions as a mirror for princes, Askari analyses the account about Ardashīr, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, as an ideal king in the Shāhnāma. Within this context, she explains why the idea of the union of kingship and religion, a major topic in almost all medieval Persian mirrors for princes, has often been attributed to Ardashīr.
Abū Manṣūr al-Thaʿālibī and His Yatīmat al-dahr
Why did premodern authors in the Arabic-Islamic culture compile literary anthologies, and why were these works remarkably popular? How can an anthology that consists of reproduced material be original and creative, and serve various literary and political ends? How did anthologists select their material, then record and arrange it?

This book examines the life and works of Abū Manṣūr al-Thaʿālibī (350–429/961–1039), an eminent anthologist from Nīshāpūr, paying special attention to his magnum opus, Yatīmat al-dahr ( The Unique Pearl), and its sequel, Tatimmat al-Yatīma ( The Completion of the Yatīma). This book is a direct window on to an anthologist’s workshop in the second half of the fourth/tenth century. It examines the methodological consciousness expressed in Thaʿālibī’s selection and arrangement, and his sophisticated system of internal references and cross-references to other works; how he selected from his contemporaries’ oeuvres; how he sought, recorded, memorized, misplaced, and sometimes lost or forgot his selections; how he scrutinized the authenticity of material, accepting, questioning, or rejecting its attribution; and the errors and inconsistencies that resulted from this process.