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R. N. Mehta

[Cambay; Khambhayat]

City at the mouth of the Mali River, c. 84 km south of Ahmadabad in Gujarat, India. Although it was a flourishing commercial centre from the 8th to the 18th century ad, Khambhat’s many Hindu and Jaina temples were destroyed by ‛Ala al-Din Khalji (reg 1296–1316) in 1299, and it suffered further invasions between the 14th and 17th centuries, including a Portuguese raid in 1538. Several European factories were built during the 17th century. However, the final decline of the city was caused by the depredations of the Marathas in the late 18th century and the silting up of the harbour, which diverted trade to nearby Surat.

The remarkable congregational mosque (Jami‛ Masjid), dated by inscription to 1325, consists of an inner courtyard surrounded by a colonnade constructed of pillars from local temples and a prayer-hall with bays marked by low domes; each dome, apart from those above the three prayer niches, or mihrabs, has a corresponding window perforated with lattice patterns in the traditional Gujarati style. Attached to the south side of the mosque is a square, pillared chamber with a ruined circular inner court, housing the intricately carved tomb of the wealthy merchant ...

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R. Nath and Robert Irwin

[Arab. mamlūk: ‘slave’]

Name applied to two distinct sequences of Islamic rulers in northern India and the Levant from the 13th century. Many but not all of the rulers were manumitted slaves of Turkish origin, hence the common names of the lines.

R. Nath

This quasi-dynastic line of Turks conquered and ruled northern India from 1206 to 1290. The line of sultans is known as the Mu‛izzi Mamluks of Delhi because Qutb al-Din Aybak (reg 1206–10) was originally a slave of the Ghurid king Mu‛izz al-Din Muhammad; two later sultans, Shams al-Din Iltutmish and Ghiyath al-Din Balban, were also manumitted slaves. As a trusted lieutenant, Qutb al-Din extended Ghurid power over the Gangetic doab. In Delhi he initiated the construction of the Quwwat al-Islam Mosque (see Delhi, §III, 1) and in Ajmer the Arhai Din ka Jhompra Mosque. These are the earliest and most important monuments of the Sultanate period. ...

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Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

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Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[Arab. taṣwīr, fūtūgrāfiyā ; Ottoman Turk. taṣwīr ; Mod. Turk. fotoğrafçilik ; Pers. ‛akkāsī, fūtūghirāfī

Term used to describe the technique of producing an image by the action of light on a chemically prepared material. Although used privately in France and England as early as 1833, the process was announced publicly only in 1839.

In January 1839 François Arago (1786–1853), a member of the Académie des Sciences, suggested that among the advantages the new medium presented was that the millions of hieroglyphs covering the monuments of Thebes, Memphis and Karnak could be copied by a single man rather than by scores of draftsmen, and in 1846 the English photographer and scientist William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–77) published a pamphlet with three prints of hieroglyphics for distribution among ar-chaeologists and Orientalists.

The Ottoman press reported the discovery of photography as early October 1839, and European colonial involvement in the Islamic lands of North Africa and West Asia ensured that photography was immediately brought there: for example, in ...

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Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

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Susan Roaf

[Arab. bādahanj, malqaf; Pers. bādgīr]

Traditional form of natural ventilation and air-conditioning built on houses throughout the Middle East from North Africa to Pakistan. Constructed at least since the 2nd millennium bc in Egypt, wind catchers have also been used to cool caravanserais, water cisterns and mosques. Consisting of an open vent built on the roof facing into or away from the prevailing wind, wind catchers have shafts carrying the air down through the roof into the living area below, thereby ventilating and cooling the spaces. Wind catchers are generally placed above the summer rooms of courtyard houses. On the Iranian plateau, where the finest wind catchers are built, the vents are in the tops of brick towers which capture the faster airstreams above the general roof level. When there is little air movement, as on summer afternoons, the wind catcher acts as a chimney, drawing warm air up the shaft and through the living areas from the courtyard. In coastal settlements, towers generally face onshore winds. Most inland towers also face prevailing winds but in some desert settlements in the Yazd region of central Iran, where the prevailing wind is hot and dusty, vents similarly face away from the wind, and the preferred air from the courtyard is drawn through the summer rooms. In Iraq and central Iran, wind catchers are important in moderating the climate of the deep basements used as summer living rooms. In the Gulf and in Sind (the lower Indus region) wind catchers serve ground- and first-floor summer rooms....