Arabic script before Islam: questions

The following considerations are based on Prof. Laila Nehmé’s presentation (Leiden, Dec 9th, 2014)  Recently the University of Leiden has organised a study day on the Qur’anic text. The day was organised following the recent dating of the parchment of a Qur’anic manuscript via C14, that gave an astonishing result: the parchment dates between 650 and…

Words of wisdom: an inscribed bowl from 10th-century Iran

Pottery produced in Arab-Islamic lands displays in the great majority of cases beautifully inscribed epigraphic bands. The beauty of the inscriptions on pottery is due to the way the text was arranged on the surface and also the way it was designed to produce, in some cases, a sort of rhythm. Kufic is maybe the most…

Damghan: the minaret of the Friday Mosque (V/XI century)

The minaret of Damghan is something that I have always liked. It is not only because it is Seldjuk, and because it is the only part of the mosque that was not replaced during the Qajar period. It is for two main reasons. The first: the inscription in the lower epigraphic band contains the Light…

Double two-dimensional mihrab from Art Institute Chicago

I was thinking about writing something for the opening of the galleries of Islamic art at the Art Institute Chicago. While browsing the collection owned by the museum, I found a peculiar tile, decorated with a double-arched two-dimensional mihrab, and of course decorated with wonderful cursive inscriptions (accession number 1917.221).

Jamila’s gravestone – update

This is the update to my previous post: “Redating and relocalising a tombstone from Wikipedia“ After a few days from the first post about Jamila’s gravestone, I am really happy to say that I got some new information. And I must admit that Wikipedia proved to be right, or at least ‘not completely wrong’.

Redating and relocalising a tombstone from Wikipedia

Update to this post: Jamila’s gravestone: update On WikiCommons there is the picture of a gravestone. It is written in a beautifully decorated kufic script. It is not that Fatimid type of kufic where the foliation/floriation is so overwhelming that you can barely read what’s written, and it is not that early kufic that has…

Gravestone tradition in 12th century Iran

After roughly one month spent thinking and thinking about the Iranian tombstone tradition developed during the 12th century, I maybe have reached some results. Actually, as the material is scattered around museums and galleries, I decided to bring some of the objects together, so that it would be easier to understand the overall tradition.

Reinterpreting an Iranian slab from XII century

After my previous blog, in which I gave my reading and some thoughts about an Iranian tombstone dated 1101 and kept in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I want to go on down this path and consider another tombstone, kept in the same museum (accession number M.73.7.1).