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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[Pers. ‛Ashqābād; formerly Ashkhabad Askhabad, Poltoratsk]

Capital city of Turkmenistan. Lying in an oasis south of the Karakum Desert, the city was founded in 1881 on the site of a mountain village (Rus. aul). Linked by rail with the Caspian coast in 1885, it developed rapidly as the center of the Transcaspian region at the turn of the 20th century and became the capital of the Turkmen republic in 1924. It suffered greatly from earthquakes in 1893, 1895 and 1929; following complete destruction by the earthquake of 6 October 1948, the city was rebuilt during the 1950s and 1960s.

Saparmurat Niyazov (generally referred to as Turkmenbashi, or leader of the Turkmen), president from 1985 to 2006, used the revenues from huge gas reserves to lavishly embellish the city with grandiose monuments of gleaming white marble and gold. Civic structures include not only the palace, government offices and an exhibition center, but also the Arch of Neutrality, a large tripod in front of which stands a gold statue of Turkmenbashi that rotates to face the sun. Religious structures include the Azadi Mosque, which resembles the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and the Kipchak Mosque, said to be the largest in Central Asia. The National Museum of History (...

Article

[CESCM]

French organization founded in Poitiers in 1953. The Centre d’études supérieures de civilisation médiévale (CECSM) is affiliated with the Université de Poitiers, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. The founders, among them historian Edmond-René Labande and art historian René Crozet, began CESCM as a month-long interdisciplinary study of medieval civilization, inviting foreign students to participate. CESCM has since developed into a permanent organization but maintains the international and interdisciplinary focus of its founders.

CESCM continues to hold its formative summer session, known as ‘Les Semaines d’études médiévales’, and invites advanced graduate students of all nationalities. The summer session spans two weeks and includes sessions on a variety of topics, each conducted by a member or affiliate of CESCM. CESCM supports collaborative research groups and regularly holds colloquia attended by the international scholarly community.

Since 1958 CECSM has published ...

Article

Filipino, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1972, in Las Piñas City, Manila, Philippines.

Painter, sculptor. Religious subjects, socio-political themes.

Folk art, symbolism.

Anting-Anting Group.

Alfredo Esquillo Jr. graduated from the University of Santo Tomas College of Fine Arts in 1993. He first gained recognition when he won first prize in the ASEAN Art Awards in ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

Apart from a short-lived introduction of paper currency in Ilkhanid Iran under the inspiration of Chinese models, paper money was virtually unknown in the Islamic world until the mid-19th century, as the right to strike Coins was one of the most traditional and important symbols of sovereignty. The Ottoman Empire was one of the first Islamic states to issue machine-made banknotes during the 1850s, as part of its modernization policy. As Western standards of administration, including the modern banking system, were put in force, paper money began to be circulated in Iran in 1890 by the Imperial Bank of Persia, and most of the other Muslim countries followed this trend along with their independence from Western countries in the early 20th century. Like coinage, paper money was regarded as an effective means of legitimizing political aspirations in the Islamic world, due to its state monopoly and worldwide circulation. Banknotes well reflected socio-political backgrounds, and their design was intended to proclaim Islamic identity, emphasizing Arabic or Persian calligraphy in parallel with Latin transliterations, as well as images of important antiquities, such as archaeological sites and historic mosques. Following Western models of paper money, portraits of rulers and politicians were also included. Despite a general antipathy toward figural representations, life-like depictions of public figures in banknotes served as iconographic propaganda....

Article

Although various forms of courier service had existed in medieval times, a postal system was introduced in North Africa, West and South Asia as early as the mid-19th century in response to European political hegemony. Consequently postage stamps were issued in several Islamic states under the auspices of European sponsors (India in 1854; Ottoman Turkey in 1863; Egypt in 1866, Iran in 1868 and Afghanistan in 1871). It was, however, during the second half of the 20th century that the themes and designs of postage stamps issued in the Islamic world became diversified and worthy of observation as a primary historical, cultural and political document. The stamp began to be viewed as an instrument of propaganda among newly independent countries, and small yet graphically and realistically depicted national flags, symbols of nations, cultural heritage, historical events, as well as the portraits of political leaders and local heroes, were considered as an effective visual tool in conveying a political and cultural message. Propagandistic stamps, for example with the theme of independence from foreign forces in most Islamic countries and martyrdom in post-revolution Iran, continue to be issued as a reminder of national events. The architectural heritage of both pre-modern and modern times was also one of the popular iconographic themes used in Islamic stamps, and this was due not only to the glow of national pride but recently to the promotion of the tourism industry. In addition to the frequent appearance of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, each state made a deliberate choice of iconic buildings for its stamp design so as to reinforce its contribution to Islamic civilization: in Turkey, Ottoman mosques and minarets, for example the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque, were frequently used in the postage design; the Ka‛ba in Mecca and the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, two of the most important Islamic monuments, appeared on the stamps of Saudi Arabia. The use of portraits in stamp design was long discouraged in some countries due to orthodox Islamic beliefs, while countries with rich pictorial traditions, such as Iran, did not hesitate to portray human figures on postal stamps....

Article

Santos  

James Cordova and Claire Farago

Term that refers to handmade paintings and sculptures of Christian holy figures, crafted by artists from the Hispanic and Lusophone Americas. The term first came into widespread use in early 20th-century New Mexico among English-speaking art collectors to convey a sense of cultural authenticity. Throughout the Americas, the term imagenes occurs most frequently in Spanish historical documents. Santos are usually painted on wood panels (retablos) or carved and painted in the round (bultos). Reredos, or altarpieces, often combine multiple retablos and bultos within a multi-level architectural framework.

European Christian imagery was circulated widely through the Spanish viceroyalties in the form of paintings, sculptures, and prints, the majority of which were produced in metropolitan centres such as Mexico City, Antigua, Lima, and Puebla, where European- and American-born artists established guilds and workshops. These became important sources upon which local artists elsewhere based their own traditions of religious image-making using locally available materials such as buffalo hides, vegetal dyes, mineral pigments, and yucca fibres, commonly employed by native artists long before European contact....