This book, abundantly illustrated with examples of Arabic handwriting, calligraphy, and typography, clearly presents the development of Arabic writing styles, from the beginning with reed pens to twenty-first century computerized typesetting. The author explains the importance of writing instruments and the surfaces onto which letters are inscribed, including the particular challenges introduced with the innovation of the printing press, and later the computer. Arabic Writing will interest not only those interested in the extraordinary history of writing, but also graphic designers, calligraphers, and visual artists, enabling an understanding of the development of existing styles, and providing a foundation from which new logotypes and character fonts can be designed.
From Script to Type
15 November 2009
Not for sale in Canada
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.
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.
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.
Gardens of Sand
Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, Arabia, Turkey, and the Levant
Issam Nassar Patricia Almárcegui Clark Worswick
Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, Arabia, Turkey, and the LevantIssam Nassar
Between 1859 and 1905, a number of photographers working in Damascus, Mecca, Cairo, Istanbul, and northern Africa captured their landscapes, towns, and monuments, bequeathing an unprecedented visual documentation of the Middle East. Gardens of Sand brings together 100 original photographs, masterpieces mostly hitherto unpublished, taken between 1859 and 1905. The archive illustrates the themes of the expatriate photographers of the second half of the nineteenth century—study portraits, royal commissions, landscapes, inventories of significant monuments and buildings, orientalist scenes, steeped in classical European imagination—but also explores the confrontation between western imagination and the visual reality of the Middle East, a meeting that gave rise to a local photography, gradually moving further away from western stereotypes, and includes a critical analysis of orientalism and of photography as a means of conveying a reality of prejudices....read more