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In: Shahnama Studies II
Islamicate Occult Sciences in Theory and Practice brings together the latest research on Islamic occultism from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, namely intellectual history, manuscript studies and material culture. Its aim is not only to showcase the range of pioneering work that is currently being done in these areas, but also to provide a model for closer interaction amongst the disciplines constituting this burgeoning field of study. Furthermore, the book provides the rare opportunity to bridge the gap on an institutional level by bringing the academic and curatorial spheres into dialogue.

Contributors include: Charles Burnett, Jean-Charles Coulon, Maryam Ekhtiar, Noah Gardiner, Christiane Gruber, Bink Hallum, Francesca Leoni, Matthew Melvin-Koushki, Michael Noble, Rachel Parikh, Liana Saif, Maria Subtelny, Farouk Yahya, and Travis Zadeh.

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.

In: Muqarnas Online