Gawhar Shad Mausoleum and its missing tombstones

Few architectural devices can equal a ribbed dome for blind, monumental ostentation. During his visit to the Musalla Complex in Herat, on the 23rd of November 1933, Robert Byron carefully recorded what remained of the monuments that once were part of the magnificent project, commissioned by Gawhar Shad. The construction of her mausoleum was completed in…

#IslamicForgeries – Intro | Why are they fascinating?

Forgeries are bad. They are fake reproductions of an original object, made on purpose, to fool people. Museums, collectors and scholars feel sort of ashamed when they realise they have displayed, bought or studied a forgery they believed authentic.

Islamic Art & Art Market: how Fall 2015 auctions went

Exactly one month ago the Islamic Art Week started in London, with the traditional auctions at Bonhams (Oct 6th), Sotheby’s (Oct 7th) and Christie’s (Oct 8th and 9th). Coming from a strictly academic background, I have never been much interested in the auction world as a whole but as I have already said and repeat…

Islamic Art in Indonesia – a neglected and problematic heritage

On Wednesday, 28th January 2015, I had the chance to take part to a beautiful and interesting research convention wonderfully organised by ACMES (Amsterdam Centre for Middle Eastern Studies). During the panel entitled “Collecting Islam in Europe”, I was particularly impressed by the presentation of Mirjam Shatanawi (National Museum for World Cultures, Leiden) about Indonesian Islamic Art.

The definition of Islamic Art – sources and comments

It is quite clear that I am highly interested in the definition of Islamic Art. And of course I am not the only one. Surfing the internet it is possible to find contributions and essays (open-access) asking questions and giving old and new perspectives on an issue that is far from be settled. Recently the…

Mary and Jesus or Maryam and Isa?

It was Christmas time in the city, and the virtual Twitter city provided wonderful samples of art, sometimes Christian, sometimes Islamic, depicting nativity scenes or Christmas-related subjects. Once again, a tweet reminded me the subtle distinction between Islamic art, Islamicate art, art produced in Islamic lands, art improperly called Islamic Art.

Corto Maltese and Islamic Art

Every student of Arabic and Islamic culture, art, philosophy… that has spent at least one month studying or doing research in Venice has read the wonderful graphic novel by Hugo Pratt Favola di Venezia – Sirat al-Bunduqiyya. And of course I did when I was studying there. On Dec, 4th (2014) a video-game based on the novel…

Social Media & Islamic Art: a survey

After few months spent dealing with Islamic art in social media, we are more and more interested in understanding what people like about Islamic art and how people use social platforms to get information about it. We thus launched a survey.