The art and architecture of the Fatimids in Cairo Arts of the City Victorious is the first book-length study of the art and architecture of the Fatimids, the Shi‘ite dynasty that ruled in North Africa and Egypt from 909 to 1171. The Fatimids are most famous for founding the walled city of Cairo in 969, and their art—particularly textiles and luster ceramics, but also metalwork and carved rock-crystal, ivory, and woodwork—has been admired for nearly a millennium. Fatimid art is known for its strongly figural imagery, and its elegant and inventive use of Arabic calligraphy, particularly the angular Kufic script. Highlighting surviving examples of Fatimid art and architecture, this volume also draws on an unusual wealth of medieval sources that provide written evidence for the rich visual culture shared among the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish inhabitants of the Fatimid realm. Whereas earlier studies treated the two and a half centuries of Fatimid art and architecture as a single category, this book is the first to show how they grew and evolved over time.
Written in an engaging and accessible style, this book focuses on key works of art, copiously illustrated with photographs, many in color. With this volume, art historian Jonathan Bloom synthesizes the findings of many scholars in many languages, to offer a rich portrait of a vibrant artistic period in Islamic civilization.
Jonathan M. Bloom teaches Islamic art history at Boston College and Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World and co-author of Islam: A Thousand Years of Faith and Power and The Art and Architecture of Islam: 1250–1800.
"Time and again he is able to cut through conflicting bodies of opinion and produce authoritative interpretations, or offer new insights into problematic material."—Bernard O'Kane, caa.reviews.org