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
Early Persian Painting
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th Century
50 b/w, 91 color illus.
For sale only in Egypt
Creating Medieval Cairo
Empire, Religion, and Architectural Preservation in Nineteenth-Century Egypt
Empire, Religion, and Architectural Preservation in Nineteenth-Century EgyptPaula Sanders
This book argues that the historic city we know as Medieval Cairo was created in the nineteenth century by both Egyptians and Europeans against a background of four overlapping political and cultural contexts: the local Egyptian, Anglo-Egyptian, Anglo-Indian, and Ottoman imperial milieux. Addressing the interrelated topics of empire, local history, religion, and transnational heritage, historian Paula Sanders shows how Cairo’s architectural heritage became canonized in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book also explains why and how the city assumed its characteristically Mamluk appearance and situates the activities of the European-dominated architectural preservation committee (known as the Comité) within the history of religious life in nineteenth-century Cairo. Offering fresh perspectives and keen historical analysis, this volume examines the unacknowledged colonial legacy that continues to inform the practice of and debates over preservation in Cairo....read more
7 November 2007
36 b/w photographs
Film in the Middle East and North Africa
Edited by Josef Gugler
Creative DissidenceEdited by Josef Gugler
Nine essays presenting the major national cinemas, from Iran to Morocco, are complemented by in-depth discussions of eighteen films that have been selected for both their excellence and their critical engagement with pressing current issues. The introduction provides a comprehensive overview of filmmaking throughout the region, including important films produced outside the national cinemas. The long history of Iranian cinema, its international renown, and the politics of directors confronting the state, earns it a special place in this volume. The other major emphasis is on the Israel/Palestine conflict, featuring films by Palestinian directors, Israelis, and an Egyptian working in Syria. Twenty contributors, from film and literary scholars to film directors and a novelist, bring to this unique volume differences in disciplinary orientation and variation in the perspectives that inform their writing. Together they offer an illuminating range of approaches to the cinemas of the region....read more
55 b/w illus.
Architecture for the Poor
An Experiment in Rural Egypt
An Experiment in Rural EgyptHassan Fathy
In this now classic work, Hassan Fathy, Egypt’s greatest twentieth-century architect, describes in detail his plan for building the village of New Gourna on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, employing both the traditional building material, mud brick, and such traditional Egyptian architectural features as enclosed courtyards and domed and vaulted roofing. Fathy worked closely with the people to tailor his designs to their needs; he taught them how to work with the mud bricks, supervised the erection of the buildings, and encouraged the revival of ancient techniques, such as the use of claustra (mud-brick latticework) to adorn the buildings. Although bureaucratic red tape and other problems prevented the completion of New Gourna, Fathy’s ideas have since commanded widespread attention both inside and outside Egypt, and Architecture for the Poor remains a testament to his vision as an architect of conscience. “Fathy demonstrates very powerfully that it is possible to build for the poor … cheaply and humanly by the use of earth for building and by teaching people to build for themselves. There is no other book quite like this.” —Choice...read more
132 b/w illus.
Art and Architecture
Edited by Markus Hattstein Peter Delius
Art and ArchitectureEdited by Markus Hattstein
The rapid expansion of Islam in its early days encouraged a unique absorption and integration of disparate cultural forms and traditions. This book follows the historical development of the Islamic regions and their ruling dynasties, and illustrates their greatly varied forms of artistic expression from the birth of the religion to the present day. Basic architectural elements demonstrate, in their diverse modes of execution, the independence of regional building traditions. In the restrained yet inventive brick and tile ornamentation of Uzbekistan, just as in the bright, naturalistic arabesque of India or Iran, and in the ubiquitous geometrical ornamentation of Spain and the Maghreb, clear forms of expression are manifest, celebrating the riches and beauty of God’s creation. This impulse also inspires the colorful and fantastical book illustrations and calligraphy, sumptuous tapestries, extravagant metalwork, ceramics, and jewelry produced by all Islamic cultures. Contributors: Mukaddima Aschrafi, Marianne Barrucand, Sheila Blair, Jonathan Bloom, Sergej Chmelnizkij, Volkmar Enderlein, Joachim Gierlichs, Almut von Gladiss, Julia Gonnella, Oleg Grabar, Annette Hagedorn, Markus Hattstein, Wolfgang Holzwarth, Natascha Kubisch, Jesús Bermúdez López, Sibylle Mazot, Viktoria Meinecke-Berg, Elke Niewöhner-Ederhard, Peter W. Schienerl, Philippa Vaughan....read more
Over 900 color illus.