Early Persian Painting

Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th Century

Bernard 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 S

English edition
336 pp.
50 b/w, 91 color illus.
25X28cm
ISBN 9789774247545
For sale only in Egypt

$49.50

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

Bernard O’Kane

Bernard O'Kane is professor of Islamic art and architecture at the American University in Cairo. He is the editor of “The Treasures of Islamic” (AUC Press, 2006) and “Creswell Photographs Re-examined” (AUC Press, 2009), and author of “The Illustrated Guide to the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo” (AUC Press, 2012).
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