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.
Arts of the City Victorious
Islamic Art and Architecture in the Fatimid North Africa and Egypt
150 illus. incl. 50 color
For sale only in the Middle East
His Lost City and Great Mosque
His Lost City and Great MosqueTarek Swelim
Ahmad Ibn Tulun (835–84), the son of a Turkic slave in the Abbasid court of Baghdad, became the founder of the first independent state in Egypt since antiquity, and builder of Egypt’s short-lived third capital of the Islamic era, al-Qata’i‘ and its great congregational mosque. After recounting the story of Ibn Tulun and his successors, architectural historian Tarek Swelim presents a topographic survey of al-Qata’i‘, a city lost since its complete destruction in 905. He then provides a detailed architectural analysis of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, which was spared the destruction and is now the oldest surviving mosque in Egypt and Africa, from the time of its completion until today. Rare archival illustrations and early photographs document the changing appearance and uses of the mosque in modern times, while extraordinary 3D computer renderings take us back in time to recreate its architectural development through its early centuries. Plans, drawings, and maps complement the history, while striking modern color photographs showcase the elegant simplicity of the building’s architecture and decoration. This definitive and generously illustrated book will appeal to scholars and students of Islamic art history, as well as to anyone interested in or inspired by the beauty of early mosque architecture....read more
13 December 2015
120 illus., including color photos, computer drawings, archival prints
Early Persian Painting
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th Century
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th CenturyBernard O’Kane
Kalila wa Dimna (or The Fables of Bidpai) is one of the gems of world culture, having been translated through the centuries everywhere from China to Spain. The stories of Kalila wa Dimna, like the Fables of Aesop or Lafontaine, are subtle and suggestive moral tales—a kind of repository of wisdom and understanding about the human condition. It was the most commonly illustrated medieval Islamic text. This book focuses on the group of seven Persian manuscripts from the second half of the fourteenth century, which contain several of the finest masterpieces of Persian painting. It is a work of enormous erudition and scholarly importance, a huge contribution for art historians and students interested in Persian painting and early Islamic art. In a world now besotted with images, these superb early paintings can give us a glimpse of the power and delight that they must have given their original viewers, and help explain the work’s attractiveness throughout the ages. “These pages will remain forever as a basic tool for all further work on this particular text and as a model for the study of illustrated manuscripts in general”—Oleg Grabar, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton...read more
50 b/w, 91 color illus.
Messages of Love and Politics
Messages of Love and PoliticsMia Gröndahl
Graffiti began in Gaza in 1987, during the first Intifada, when there was no Palestinian television or radio in the Gaza Strip, and no newspapers: the messages that spread along the walls became an important means of communication. Over the years, all political groups have had their own graffiti artists. Scrawl is not tolerated—it has to look good. Hamas even offers evening classes in graffiti. Documenting the writings on the walls of Gaza over a period of seven years, celebrated Swedish photojournalist Mia Gröndahl lays before us the many roles that they perform, the colorful and surprising range of their artistic expression, and their reflection of the changing political situation. And apart from political slogans, the walls bear witness too to joy and sadness: the wedding celebrations, the many victims of the conflict, and the ever present hope of peace and freedom. For us on the outside, Mia Gröndahl’s photographs offer an exciting and unexpected view of life in Gaza....read more
15 March 2010
150 color illus.
History and Cultural Identity: Revised and Updated Edition
History and Cultural Identity: Revised and Updated EditionViola Shafik
Since it was first published in 1998, Viola Shafik’s Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity has become an indispensable work for scholars of film and the contemporary Middle East. Combining detailed narrative history—economic, ideological, and aesthetic—with thought-provoking analysis, Arab Cinema provides a comprehensive overview of cinema in the Arab world, tracing the industry’s development from colonial times to the present. It analyzes the ambiguous relationship with commercial western cinema, and the effect of Egyptian market dominance in the region. Tracing the influence on the medium of local and regional art forms and modes of thought, both classical and popular, Shafik shows how indigenous and external factors combine in a dynamic process of “cultural repackaging.” Now updated to reflect cultural shifts in the last two decades, this revised edition contains a new afterword highlighting the latest developments in popular and in art-house filmmaking, with a special focus on Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and the Gulf States. While exploring problematic issues such as European co-production for Arab art films, including their relation to cultural identity and their reception in the region and abroad, this new edition introduces readers to some of the most compelling cinematic works of the last decades....read more
5 January 2017
50 b/w illus.