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Denise-Marie Teece

Abstract

This article examines some of the more significant aspects of Turin Safīna manuscript Biblioteca Reale Ms. Or. 101. One of these is its unique and important six-page preface, which refers to the manuscript as a safīna (ship or vessel) and explains in poetic language why some Persian manuscripts are referred to using this term. In addition to this significant preface, which is translated and analyzed in the first half of the article, the manuscript also exhibits delicate illuminations and calligraphy work that may be connected to a network of artist-families active in western Persia (primarily in the region of Shiraz) around the time of its completion. The second half of this article revisits the careers of some of these artists, and discusses the broader artistic context for the creation of the Turin safīna manuscript. Special attention will be given to the careers of the illuminator known as Ruzbehanal-Modhahheb, and his calligrapher father Naʿim al-Din al-Kateb.

Bill Hickman

Abstract

The Eşrefoğlu Mosque in Iznik was destroyed during the Turkish War of Independence, not long after Cornelius Gurlitt published a black and white photograph of its facade taken by G. Berggren. The photograph constitutes the only remaining visual evidence of a building whose initial construction likely dates to the lifetime of the shaykh whose memory it preserved. The flamboyant facade shown in the photograph reveals a unique mass of calligraphy, including inscriptions, published many years ago but revisited here. These inscriptions add to our understanding of the mosque’s history. My own telling of the phases of the building’s construction involves a reexamination of the identity of the mosque’s Ottoman dynastic patrons, principally Gülbahar Hatun, mother of Sultan Bayezid II. The inscriptions also raise questions about the shaykh’s spiritual legacy. Finally, the mosque’s spatial relationship to a nearby dervish lodge and to türbes associated with the shaykh and his family, buildings that also no longer survive, can be newly addressed.

Barry Knight

Abstract

The lid of a small wooden box, believed to have contained the heart of Abbot Roger de Norton (d. 1291), was discovered in 1872, during the restoration of St. Albans Abbey. The lid has an Arabic inscription that has not previously been translated. It is now suggested that the inscription reads al-ʿizz al-dāʾim wa ’l-iqbāl lahu, or “Everlasting glory and good fortune for him.”

Francesca Leoni, Dana Norris, Kelly Domoney, Moujan Matin and Andrew Shortland

Abstract

In 2014 the Ashmolean Museum conserved and examined one of the largest and most handsome ceramic vessels in its renowned Islamic art collection. An accomplished example of early thirteenth-century Persian lusterware from the bequest of Sir Alan Barlow, the salver had an unusually deformed profile and uneven wear that pointed at a number of past interventions. Some of these had already been uncovered in 2008 when the object was prepared for reinstallation in the revamped Ashmolean. However, it was only when analyzed by a team of inhouse specialists and scientists from Cranfield University and the Research Laboratory for Archaeology at the University of Oxford, that the extraordinary nature of its “restoration” could be assessed. This article presents the results of this collaborative effort and contributes important evidence to the thorny issue of the faking and forging of Islamic ceramics in the early twentiethc century, when collecting Islamic decorative arts was at its peak.

Samet Budak

Abstract

This article traces the history of an Ottoman legal custom related to the construction of sultanic (imperial) mosques. According to conventional narratives, the victory over non-Muslims was the essential requisite for constructing a sultanic mosque. Only after having emerged victorious should a sultan use the funds resulting from holy war to build his own mosque. This article argues that this custom emerged only after the late sixteenth century in tandem with rising complaints about the Ottoman decline and with the ḳānūn-consciousness of the Ottoman elite, although historical accounts present it as if it existed from the beginning of Ottoman rule. It rapidly gained importance, so much so that the Sultan Ahmed Mosque was dubbed “the unbeliever’s mosque” by contemporary ulema. After having examined details of the custom’s canonization, the article deals with how it left its imprint in construction activities (struggles and workarounds), historical sources, literature, and cultural memory, up to the nineteenth century.

Nikolaos Vryzidis

Abstract

In the collection of Vatopediou Monastery (Mount Athos) there is a Late Byzantine vestment called by the monks the “Arabic stole” (arabikon ōmophorion). This quite unique vestment probably owes its name to two bands of embroidered Arabic inscriptions on the lower part of each end. It is one of the very few known Byzantine religious objects to feature legible Arabic inscriptions, a visible symbol of Islamic otherness juxtaposed with the standard Christian iconography. Apart from bringing into the spotlight a medieval vestment that has been overlooked by scholars, this article traces possible sources of artistic transfer through a discussion of texts and extant objects. Finally, it aims at expanding our understanding of the reception of Islamic art in Late Byzantium, a time of both political decline and cultural renewal.

Finbarr Barry Flood

Abstract

This article presents an overview of the current state of knowledge regarding the material culture of north India under the Delhi sultans and the regional sultanates that emerged in Bengal, Gujarat, Jaunpur, and Malwa during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Highlighting lacunae in existing scholarship, it also draws attention to material and textual sources that underline the strong transregional filiations of Sultanate art and architecture. It suggests that negotiations between regional artistic forms and styles and those that reflect transregional connections in Sultanate art and architecture anticipate a feature often seen as characteristic of early Mughal art and architecture.

Patricia Blessing

Abstract

In the second quarter of the fifteenth century, a new phenomenon appears in Ottoman architecture: tiles with blue-and-white decoration, associated with tile-makers from Tabriz. These tiles appear most prominently in the Muradiye in Edirne, completed in 839/1435-36. They mark the beginning of an aesthetic shift, away from black-line (or cuerda seca) tiles inspired by Timurid and Aqquyunlu models, toward the blue-and-white tiles and vessels of the so-called Baba Naqqaş style of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The mihrāb of the Muradiye features both kinds of tiles, thus illustrating this shift at its early stages. Within the parameters of an international Timurid style, the artistic production of this period (tile-work in particular) has been considered an offshoot of Timurid court patronage in eastern Iran and Central Asia. In the larger context of the fifteenth-century Islamic world, however, related tiles and vessels were also produced in Damascus and Cairo. This article examines the tiles of the Muradiye Mosque within the framework of artistic centers, the movements of motifs, objects, and makers, and their impact on architecture in the fifteenth-century Ottoman empire.

Cailah Jackson

Abstract

The arts of the book of late medieval Rum (Anatolia) constitute a rich resource for Islamic art historians that remains relatively unknown in the wider scholarship. This complex period saw the disintegration of Seljuk rule and the partial absorption of the region into the Ilkhanid realm. Konya (present-day central Turkey), the former Seljuk capital, was hardly isolated from its better-known neighbors and was evidently an active center for the patronage of the arts of the book. This article contributes to ongoing discussions concerning late medieval Islamic manuscripts by discussing illuminations that were produced by Mukhlis ibn ʿAbdallah al-Hindi in thirteenth-century Konya. One of the two named illuminators active in the city, Mukhlis extensively decorated two manuscripts, both in 677h (1278): a small Qurʾan and a monumental copy of Jalal al-Din Rumi’s Mas̱navī. Both are the initial focus of the article. Following an analysis of these manuscripts, the article presents additional material as possible products of Mukhlis’s hand or of Konya generally, demonstrating both the relative visual distinctiveness of Konya illumination and the need to potentially re-examine works previously attributed to Egypt or Persia.

Gül Kale

Abstract

In 1614 Caʿfer Efendi devoted four chapters of his book on architecture to the science of surveying. Caʿfer’s text is the only extant comprehensive book written by a scholar on the relation between architecture and various forms of knowledge. His sections on surveying have attracted little scholarly attention since they were often viewed as ad hoc chapters in a biography of the chief architect Mehmed Agha. An investigation into the intersection between architecture, as represented by the architect’s cubit, the science of surveying, and jurisprudence sheds significant light on how scholars assessed the legitimacy of early modern Ottoman architecture. In this article, I examine the relationship between architectural practices, mathematical knowledge, and social practices by focusing on Caʿfer Efendi’s elaborations on the architect’s cubit, units of measure, and mensuration of areas. These links need to be understood through the cultural and scientific context in which architects and scholars collaborated. I also explore Caʿfer Efendi’s identity, which gave him the tools to discuss such intrinsic connections. When read along with court decrees, and in conjunction with the use of mathematical sciences for civic affairs, this investigation reveals how Ottoman architecture was embedded in the scientific discourses, social practices, and ethical concerns of the early seventeenth century.

Two Thousand Years in Dendi, Northern Benin

Archaeology, History and Memory

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Edited by 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.

Laura E. Parodi

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.

Julio Navarro, Fidel Garrido and Íñigo Almela

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.

Saleem Al-Bahloly

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.

Melis Taner

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.

Nebahat Avcıoğlu

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.

Yves Porter and Richard Castinel

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).

Maximilian Hartmuth

Abstract

In the Balkan region of Herzegovina is found a series of Ottoman-period mosques distinguished by minarets of an atypical form: unlike standard Ottoman designs with cylindrical or polygonal minaret shafts, the square plan of these minarets makes them more reminiscent of bell towers. Despite this salient and unusual feature, the “campanile minarets,” as some scholars choose to call them, remain little studied as a historical phenomenon; outside the former Yugoslavia, they are still practically unknown. The current article aims to establish the reasons for the popularity and dissemination of this curious architectural feature in a particular region and time. It discusses two hypotheses that link square-tower minarets morphologically to the Catholic Adriatic and Arab world, but ultimately offers a different interpretation of their formal origins and their establishment as a type.

Mehran Matin and Moujan Matin

Abstract

The Risāla dar tafṣīl-i sākhtan-i chīnī (A Treatise on Porcelain Manufacture) is a Qajar-period manuscript in Persian, housed at the Sipahsalar Library in Tehran. It is the only known source that details the modern technology of porcelain production in the Qajar era (1789–1925). According to the information in the colophon, the scribe, Masih ibn Muhammad Baqir al-Firuzabadi, completed the manuscript in the year 1284 (1868). The text mentions that it is the translation of a French work, but no further reference to the original book is given. The purpose of this essay is to introduce and review the Persian manuscript, to reveal its relation to the three-volume Traité des arts céramiques ou des poteries (Treatise on Ceramic Arts or Potteries) by Alexandre Brongniart, a nineteenth-century scientist and director of the Sèvres Porcelain Factory, and to underline its importance to the history of art and technology in Qajar Iran.

Yves Porter

Abstract

The Shahi ʿIdgah at Rapri (Uttar Pradesh), which dates to 1312, was built by Malik Kafur, the general of the Delhi sultan ʿAla⁠ʾuddin Khalji (1296–1316). The village of Rapri was part of Malik Kafur’s fief and an important station for the army, as it commanded a ford on the Yamuna River. ʿĪdgāhs, sometimes translated as “wall-mosques,” are extra-urban, open prayer spaces for accommodating large congregations during the two main religious festivals (ʿīds). The Rapri ʿīdgāh constitutes a major landmark in the architecture of the Delhi Sultanate, mainly because of its exceptional decoration of turquoise-glazed tiles, the oldest example of its kind still in situ. Although often considered a technique that originated in the Iranian domains, the making of glazed tiles was already known in the Kushan period (first to fourth century CE), and some findings have been excavated from Buddhist contexts in the nearby Mathura region. This study shows the link between the tiles of Rapri and later fourteenth century examples, and with glazed pottery.

Abbey Stockstill

Abstract

The Kutubiyya Mosque, the hallmark monument of the Almohad dynasty (1121–1269) in their capital city of Marrakesh, has resisted scholarly interpretation due to its unique plan, featuring two prayer halls wedged apart by the monumental minaret. The south-facing qibla and the architectural use of a prior dynasty’s palatial remains further complicate the narrative surrounding the function of the mosque within the urban fabric and the Almohads’ dynastic self-concept. This article argues that such idiosyncrasies are indicative of the Almohads’ sensitivity to the intellectual, religious, and legal arguments of the day, expressed through a deliberate adaptation or repudiation of the architectural precedents in the Islamic West. The Kutubiyya must be understood as a monumental record of the dynastic shifts in ideology and identity as the Almohads struggled to define themselves against their predecessors and competitors. The site’s unique plan and complex construction history are the physical evidence of this struggle, which makes the role of the Kutubiyya in the urban history of Marrakesh all the more significant.

Itamar Taxel, Ayala Lester and Uzi ʿAd

Abstract

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.

Lynda S. Mulvin

Abstract

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.

Earthen Architecture in Muslim Cultures

Historical and Anthropological Perspectives

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Edited by Stéphane Pradines

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.

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Anne Haour, Olivier Gosselain, Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Sam Nixon and Didier N’Dah

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Nadia Khalaf, Anne Haour, Didier N’Dah and Alexandre Livingstone Smith

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Anne Haour and Barpougouni Mardjoua

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Nicolas Nikis, Louis Champion and Anne Haour

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith and Nicolas Nikis

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Nicolas Nikis and Alexandre Livingstone Smith

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Nicolas Nikis, Alexandre Livingstone Smith and Olivier Gosselain

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Olivier Gosselain, Lucie Smolderen, Victor Brunfaut, Jean-François Pinet and Alexandre Livingstone Smith

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Anne Haour, Didier N’Dah, Carlos Magnavita, Sam Nixon and Alexandre Livingstone Smith

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Nicolas Nikis, Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Anne Filippini and Anne Haour

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith and Anne Filippini

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith and Nicolas Nikis

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith and Nicolas Nikis

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith and Nicolas Nikis

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Louis Champion and Anne Filippini

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Nicolas Nikis and Barpougouni Mardjoua

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Pascal Gnankpo Amoussou, Inès Corolin Amoussou, Nicolas Nikis, Olivier Gosselain and Alexandre Livingstone Smith

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Louis Champion and Nicolas Nikis

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Inès Carolin Amoussou, Nicolas Nikis, Alexandre Livingstone Smith and Anne Haour

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Didier N’Dah, Carlos Magnavita, Sam Nixon, Anne Haour and Alexandre Livingstone Smith

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Anne Haour, Sam Nixon, Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Nicolas Nikis and David K. Kay

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Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Louis Champion, Nicolas Nikis and Anne Haour

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Louis Champion, Nadia Khalaf and Anne Haour