Enigmatic Charms

Medieval Arabic Block Printed Amulets in American and European Libraries and Museums


This is the first comprehensive examination of block printing in the medieval Islamic world. Examples of Arabic block prints have been preserved in various collections across the globe, but they have long been treated as curiosities and oddities. Here, for the first time, a large representative corpus of block prints is examined and illustrated. The first section of the book places Arabic block printing in historical perspective and recounts their rediscovery by modern day scholars. The second section illustrates fifty-five examples of medieval Arabic block printed amulets, provides detailed techical descriptions of each, presents transcriptions of their texts into legible Arabic and offers translations of those texts into English.
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EUR €232.00USD $312.00

Biographical Note

Karl R. Schaefer, Ph.D. (1985) in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, NYU, is Associate Professor of Librarianship in Cowles Library, Drake University.


The volume should prove useful to Islamic art historians, historians of Islamic technology, collectors of Islamic art, and those interested in popular social and religious practices in the Islamic realms between 900 and 1430 CE.


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