The origins of the Monastery of Saint Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai date to A.D. 324, when a community of monks requested Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, to build a chapel on the spot where they believed the Burning Bush had stood. Two centuries later, Emperor Justinian had the building enlarged and massive walls built, and thus the Monastery remained for centuries—an oasis of peace, shrouded in mystery and sacredness. Not even the Crusades left a trace of their passing, except for some graffiti carved in the refectory. Today St. Catherine’s has become a place of pilgrimage and international tourism. Visitors are attracted by the route—which crosses the colorful Sinai Desert to reach Jebel Musa, the Mount Sinai of the Old Testament—and, above all, by the charm of the monastery itself, rich in artistic and historical treasures and deep in serenity. This book takes the reader inside one of the most important places in the Christian landscape, through stunning pictures taken by renowned photographers. The text gives an account of the history of the holy site, as well as of recent investigations and discoveries. The exceptional quality of the illustrations and text make this very affordable book a worthy tribute to one of the Christian world’s most famous monasteries.
The Treasures of the Monastery of Saint Catherine
Photographs byAraldo De Luca
With a foreword byArchbishop Damianos of Sinai
Over 200 color photographs
For sale only in the Middle East
Messages of Love and Politics
Mia Gröndahl 16.95
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
150 color illus.
Folk Art of the Great Pilgrimage
Ann Parker Avon Neal 29.95
Folk Art of the Great PilgrimageAnn Parker
Since the seventh century, the Hajj, or Great Pilgrimage to Mecca, has been a lifelong goal of devout Muslims throughout the world. Egyptian pilgrims traditionally celebrate their sacred journey by commissioning a local artist to depict their religious odyssey on the walls of their homes. Hajj Paintings is the first visual record of the richness and variety of this naive art form. Photographer Ann Parker and writer Avon Neal spent a decade exploring towns, villages, and isolated farm communities along the Nile, across the Delta, down the Red Sea coast, and into Sinai. On the walls of buildings ranging from alabaster factories to mud-brick farmhouses they found brilliant murals illuminated by the desert sun, portraying beloved icons of the pilgrims’ faith and scenes from the Qur’an. Their nearly 150 color photographs and accompanying descriptions record the radiant palette of the mostly self-taught artists....read more
130 color illus.
Baghdad Arts Deco
Architectural Brickwork, 1920–1950
Caecilia Pieri 30.00
Architectural Brickwork, 1920–1950Caecilia Pieri
Despite dictatorship, international sanctions, and the ravages of war, Baghdad endures with a surprisingly exceptional modern architectural heritage. This beautifully illustrated study reveals the splendors of early twentieth-century architecture that still stand on the streets of Iraq’s capital. Caecilia Pieri’s documentation foregrounds the physical reality of modern Baghdad, very different from the image that we normally receive from the media. She draws on a number of unpublished sources and documents to present Baghdad’s architecture in a historical perspective, and her striking photographs taken between 2003 and 2006 document the residential areas of the twentieth-century city, providing an unprecedented resource for historians, urban planners, and general readers interested in discovering a new face of a world capital. With essays by Rifat Chadirji, Ihsan Fethi, and Naïm Kattan....read more
History and Cultural Identity: Revised and Updated Edition
Viola Shafik 19.95
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.
9 November 2016
50 b/w illus.