The Dragon in Medieval East Christian and Islamic Art

With a Foreword by Robert Hillenbrand

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This book is a pioneering work on a key iconographic motif, that of the dragon. It examines the perception of this complex, multifaceted motif within the overall intellectual and visual universe of the medieval Irano-Turkish world. Using a broadly comparative approach, the author explores the ever-shifting semantics of the dragon motif as it emerges in neighbouring Muslim and non-Muslim cultures. The book will be of particular interest to those concerned with the relationship between the pre-Islamic, Islamic and Eastern Christian (especially Armenian) world.
The study is fully illustrated, with 209 (b/w and full colour) plates, many of previously unpublished material. Illustrations include photographs of architectural structures visited by the author, as well as a vast collection of artefacts, all of which are described and discussed in detail with inscription readings, historical data and textual sources.
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Biographical Note

Sara Kuehn, Ph.D. (2008) in Islamic Art History and Archaeology, Free University of Berlin, is researcher at the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (MAK). Following earlier studies in Chinese and Japanese art and archaeology, her research now centres on the art and archaeology of the Irano-Turkish world. She is currently preparing a monograph on the iconography of angels in Islamic art.

Review Quotes

Winner of the 20th World Prize for the Book of the Year of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2013).

"The book […] will serve for many decades as the standard reference volume for virtually every question the mediaeval dragon iconography raises." – Iván Szántó, in: Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 103 (2013), 499-501
"It is not just that it is illustrated with 209 plates, many of previously unpublished material, with its photos of architectural structures, and its vast collection of artefacts that makes this one of the most fascinating books to read. It is first of all the quality of the author herself, as made evident in every page of this volume. [...] A study exciting to read for a general reader, essential as reference for those interested in iconography, the religious, cultural, scientific, assiciations of the dragon motif, the history of its cross-cultural representation in art." – Stavros Nikolaidis, in: The Journal of Oriental and African Studies 22 (2013), 330-333
"… ce livre hautement informatif demeure une source indispensable d’informations pour qui s’intéresse à l’iconographie du dragon. […] Son intéret est d’autant plus important qu’il est richement illustré et présente au lecteur des photographies détaillées d’un grand nombre de monuments et d’objets qui n’avaient jamais été publiées auparavant, ou seulement en noir et blanc […]." – Bas Snelders, in: Eastern Christian Art 9 (2012-2013), 119-124 [DOI: 10.21.43/ECA.9.0.3044826]
"[This book] deserves to be seen as THE book of the dragon in early and medieval Islamic art, and it will remain a must-be-consulted tool for searching reliable references on the iconography of Islamic art in general but the dragon in particular." – Yuka Kadoi, in: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 23 July 2015 [DOI: 10.1017/S1356186315000395]

Readership

This is is an essential work of reference for all those interested in iconography and in pre-Islamic, medieval Islamic and Eastern Christian religious, cultural, scientific and artistic history, as well as those concerned with cross-cultural aspects of medieval visual culture.

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