Studies in the Islamic Arts of the Book [Hardback]

Robert Hillenbrand (Author)

ISBN: 9781904597490 | Published by: Pindar Press | Volume: 3 | Year of Publication: 2012 | Language: English 556p, 258 illus.

Studies in the Islamic Arts of the Book


The studies collected in this volume, some of them rather difficult to access, date mostly from the last fifteen years and focus primarily on Persian book painting of the 14th to the early 16th centuries. In this period, Iran dominated the art of book painting in the Islamic world. The articles reprinted here examine various aspects of this, the golden age of Persian painting. They range from the period of Mongol rule, when the impact of Far Eastern themes and modes radically transformed the heritage bequeathed to Iran by Arab painting - a textbook case of the clash of civilisations - to the dawn of the modern era and the swansong of the classical style of Persian painting under the early Safavids. Yet other articles focus on the roots of book painting in the themes and styles developed in painted ceramics, on medieval Qur'anic calligraphy, on bookbinding and on the remarkably original variations played on the hitherto hackneyed theme of the figural frontispiece by Arab painters. Two major leitmotifs are explored in this selection of essays. One is provided by the constantly varying interpretations of the Shahnama ( The Book of Kings ), the Persian national epic, and especially the tendency of painters to interpret this familiar text in terms of contemporary politics. The other is the interplay of text and image, which highlights the tendency of painters to strike out on their own and to leave the literal text progressively further behind while they develop plots and sub-plots of their own. These enquiries are set within the context of a concerted effort to explore in detail how Persian painters achieved their most spectacular visual effects. In its combination of general surveys and closely focused analyses of individual manuscripts, this collection of articles will be of interest to specialists in book painting and in Islamic art as a whole

Table of Contents

The Uses of Space in Timurid Painting
The Iconography of the Shah-nama-yi Shahi
The Iskandar Cycle in the Great Mongol Shahnama
Images of Muhammad in al-Biruni's Chronology of Ancient Nations
The Arts of the Book in Ilkhanid Iran
The paintings of Rashid al-Din's 'Universal History' at Edinburgh
Mamluk and Ilkhanid Bestiaries: Convention and Experiment
The Qur'an Illuminated
The relationship between book painting and luxury ceramics in 13th-century Iran, The Message of Misfortune
Literature and the visual arts; New Perspectives in Shahnama Iconography
Erudition exalted: the double frontispiece to The Epistles of the Sincere Brethren
The Shahnama and the illustrated book
Islamic Bookbinding

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