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Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Lebanese–American artist and writer. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, she was educated in Lebanon and at universities in France and the United States. For many years she taught the philosophy of art at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA. She also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities until her retirement in the late 1970s. Also a novelist and poet, she combined Arabic calligraphy with modern language in her drawings, paintings, ceramics and tapestries. She explored the relationship between word and image in over 200 “artist books,” in which she transcribed in her own hand Arabic poetry from a variety of sources....

Article

Sarah Scaturro

British fashion designer born in Turkish Cyprus. Chalayan won the British Fashion Award for Designer of the Year in 1999 and 2000. He is best known for his cerebral designs that reference architecture, geopolitics and technology, as well as exploring the theme of transformation.

Chalayan was educated in Cyprus before moving to London to attend Central St Martins College of Art and Design, where he graduated with honours in ...

Article

Esin Atil

Ottoman illuminator. The greatest student of Şahkulu, Kara Memi developed a new naturalistic style that quickly spread to other court arts including textiles, rugs, ceramics and tiles and survived for many centuries. He is one of the few artists employed in the imperial Ottoman painting studio under Süleyman (...

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Ottoman  

In furniture, an ottoman is a low upholstered seat without a back or arms, typically serving also as a box, with the seat hinged to form a lid; it was also called a Turkey sofa. The French term ottomane (or sultane or turquoise) denoted an oval sofa in which one end was raised. In textiles, ottoman was a heavy ribbed fabric made from silk and either cotton or wool....

Article

Iraqi architect, painter and designer. The grandson of the Iraqi prime minister Nuri el-Said (d 1958), he studied architecture in England at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1958–61), and attended Hammersmith College of Art and Design, London (1962–4). From the early 1960s he incorporated sentences and words in kufic and other scripts into his paintings. He designed the interior of the Central Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre in London (...

Article

Tent  

P. A. Andrews and Mark Dike DeLancey

Portable structure with a fabric covering sustained by or interacting with rigid supports. Because of their mobility, tents have been essential in providing shelter for the nomads of the Middle East and Central Asia, and have been attested since the earliest written and pictorial records. The same constructional principles have been adapted for court and army life by the rulers of these and neighbouring regions, including medieval Europe and India. At times they were realized with a magnificence and sense of display hard to imagine today. Cloth also came to be used for ...

Article

Tiraz  

Sheila S. Blair

Inscription band in Islamic textiles, or fabric with an inscription band added in a technique different from the ground weave. Derived from the Persian word for embroidery, the term originally designated any embroidered ornament. In the early Islamic period textiles were often decorated with inscriptions containing good wishes and the caliph’s name and titles, and these fabrics were made up into robes of honour worn by the caliph or bestowed by him as official gifts. Hence the word came to refer to inscription bands done in embroidery or any other technique and the fabrics or garments on which they were found. Tiraz also referred to the workshops in which these fabrics were made, a synecdoche for ...

Article

Monique Riccardi-Cubitt

French term used to describe artefacts made in Turkey, or in France by Turkish craftsmen, and by derivation the influence on French design of elements from the Byzantine Empire, the Saljuq Islamic period and the Ottoman Empire. Specific motifs, borrowed from the original Turkish carpets, included arabesques or stylized flowers and vegetal scrolls and decorative animal forms—also included within the generic term ‘grotesques’—from the Renaissance onwards. From the Middle Ages inventories and accounts record objects ...