Author: Sheila Blair
Inscriptions on buildings are a distinctive feature of Islamic architecture, and this book studies the 79 surviving monumental inscriptions in the Iranian world from the first five centuries of the Muslim era (A.D. 622-1106), the period in which all the major trends of monumental epigraphy in the area were set.
These foundation, commemorative, and funerary texts come from the region between Iraq and Soviet Central Asia. Written primarily in Arabic, they embellished architectural monuments and furnishings whose nature implies the construction of major buildings. An extended introduction discusses such general topics as titulature, patronage, and stylistic development. Each text is then presented individually with photographs, drawings, transcriptions, translations and an extensive commentary, which presents the inscription in its larger palaeographic and historical contexts.
Author: Sheila Blair

Objects associated with the practice of the Muslim faith are often inscribed with Qurʾanic verses specifically chosen to reflect their spiritual functions and project the piety of the patrons who ordered them and the believers who used them. This essay focuses on one such Qurʾanic passage: the invocation of the Prophet Muhammad in Qurʾan 33: 56, a verse saying that God and His angels bless the Prophet and that believers should bless him too and give him greetings of peace. The article analyses the use of this verse on buildings and objects of various media in five different places from early Islamic to pre-modern times to show how words, sounds, and images could be used to elaborate different aspects of Muhammad’s persona, ranging from his unique position as beautiful model to his roles as intercessor, miracle-worker, and protagonist in the miraculous night journey and ascension.

In: Religion and the Arts
Author: Sheila Blair


The first Mongol khans were buried in hidden graves, but later Mongols adopted the Muslim practice of building aboveground domed tombs. This essay examines three domed mausolea typical of the Muslim lands erected in the early to mid-14th century in different Mongol khanates—that built for the Ilkhan Öljeitü at Sultaniyya, a second for the Chaghadaid Buyan Quli Khan outside Bukhara, and a third anonymous tomb at Guyuan, Hebei, in the Yuan territories of north China—to show how different Mongol patrons interpreted the same form and funerary traditions associated with it.

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
This collection of essays grew out of the symposium, “Art and Politics in South Asia,” held at Boston College on October 5, 2002 and sponsored by the Norma Jean Calderwood Professorship in Islamic and Asian Art. Art, Religion, and Politics in South Asia connects the arts of the past to the problems of the present and to matters of increasing relevance in today’s world. This special issue includes essays by Catherine B. Asher, Phillip B. Wagoner, and Frederick M. Asher.

Art, Religion and Politics in South Asia was originally published as issue 1 of Volume 8 (2004) of Brill's journal Religion and the Arts. For more details on this journal, please click here.
In: Muqarnas, Volume 25