Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom
(b. Paris, 1926).
Turkish historian of Islamic architecture. He studied in the faculty of architecture at Istanbul Technical University under Emin Onat, receiving his degree in 1949 for a study of Turkish Baroque architecture. He spent 1954–5 in Italy investigating Renaissance architecture, and 1962–3 in the USA on a Fulbright Fellowship. The following year he was a fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, where he studied Byzantine architecture in Anatolia, and for the next decade he was involved in the study and restoration of the Byzantine church known as Kalenderhane Cami in Istanbul. He taught architectural history and restoration at Istanbul Technical University from 1958 until his retirement in 1993 and was dean of the architecture faculty from 1974 to 1977. From 1978 to 1983 he served on the first Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and in 1980–81 he was Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His voluminous scholarship combines a thorough knowledge of European architectural history and theory with a close and intimate reading of Turkish and Islamic buildings and their structure....
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....