The World of Islamic Art presents a vivid portrait of the cultural heritage of Islam and its great artistic traditions, across an enormous span of geography and time. Having originated in the remote deserts of the Arabian peninsula, Islam grew so quickly that within a century it had dominated North Africa and the former Christian heartlands of Syria and Anatolia. From there the community of believers spread eastward to Persia, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and India, eventually reaching China, Indonesia, and elsewhere in the Far East. The historical diffusion of this truly global religion is related in seven chapters devoted to regionally dominant kingdoms and empires. Each chapter contains an illuminating commentary revealing the beauty and breadth of the many artistic influences—it is explained, for example, how figural imagery was often displaced by calligraphic and geometric forms, and how the sense of the divine in Islam came to be symbolized by the harmonious use of color, pattern, and proportion. Illustrated throughout with a wealth of ornate, often sublime, examples, which include paintings, jewelry, metalwork, sculpture, architecture, and many other art forms, The World of Islamic Art celebrates Islam’s truly magnificent contribution to the cultural and spiritual heritage of humankind.
The World of Islamic Art
170 color photographs
For sale only in the Middle East
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.
Rebirth of the City of the Sun
Agnieszka Dobrowolska Jaroslaw Dobrowolski
Rebirth of the City of the SunAgnieszka Dobrowolska
When in the early years of the twentieth century the Belgian businessman Edouard Empain began to turn his dream of building an entirely new satellite city in the desert outside Cairo into a reality, he followed the then novel urban-planning concept of the “garden city.” But in naming his creation, he turned back to one of the most ancient sites in Egypt, the solar temple of Heliopolis, the biblical On, and in its architecture he sought inspiration in the heritage of Cairo’s Islamic tradition. When the city, known as “New Egypt” in Arabic, was completed, a half-hour tram ride through the desert was needed to reach it. Today, Heliopolis has been enveloped within the huge and ever-growing metropolis of Cairo. However, despite rapid development, overpopulation, and increasing traffic, Heliopolis has retained much of its original character and charm, and the captivating atmosphere of Egypt’s Belle Epoque is still tangible. Its houses, mosques, and churches, designed to imitate various styles of the past, have become historic buildings in their own right. This fully illustrated book introduces the reader to the history and development of Heliopolis through its architecture and its inhabitants past and present....read more
1 November 2006
150 illus. incl. 100 in color
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.
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.