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In: Muqarnas, Volume 26
In: Muqarnas Online
In: The Diez Albums
In: The Diez Albums
In: Arab Painting
In: Arthur Upham Pope and A New Survey of Persian Art

Abstract

Thanks to the recent availability of a complete copy of the paintings of the Rabat Kalila and Dimna, probably executed in Baghdad in the late 13th century, it has become possible to collate what remains with its copy in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, and to provide, with some certainty, a restitution of the original cycle of paintings in the Rabat manuscript.

The collapse of the Saljuq authority in the late 12th century and the subsequent renaissance of the ʿAbbasid caliphate in the first half of the 13th century and its attendant book culture in Baghdad have been well documented. The artist of the Rabat manuscript, if not as daring or well-rounded in his repertoire as the celebrated painters of the great Maqāmāt manuscripts earlier in the 13th century (al-Wāsitī and St Petersburg), was nevertheless well acquainted with their landscape idiom and was a sympathetic and accomplished painter of the bulk of the subjects in the manuscript: animals. The manuscript is the earliest known to incorporate depictions of Mongols in Islamic painting. It also has the largest number of illustrations of any known Kalila and Dimna manuscript. Now that we have a better idea of its original cycle, we can appreciate both the novelty and variety that the painter brought to his formidable task of illustrating the spaces left for 187 paintings.

In: Les périples de Kalila et Dimna: Quand les fables voyagent dans la littérature et les arts du monde islamique
In: Arab Painting