Analysing a foundation inscription: the Luftallah Mosque

no idea that abstract pattern was capable of so profound a splendour “The Shaykh Luftallah mosque is viewed by historians and visitors as one of the most important architectural projects built on Isfahan’s maidan, prominent for its location, scale, design, and ornament”. This is how the long entry Archnet devotes to the Luftallah mosque ends….

Four mihrabs within a mihrab

When I was preparing the article about the Friday Mosque of Shiraz and the Qur’anic inscriptions that are written on its walls, I came across the photo of a quite particular alabaster slab that used to be kept in the mosque. The slab is made of alabaster and its design is that of a two-dimensional mihrab….

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…

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…

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.

When calligraphy becomes architecture: Q 2:137 and fashion

Calligraphy has been thoroughly used in Islamic art and architecture with decorative purposes. The Qur’an, the Word of God has been used for decorative purposes, but not only. Erika Dodd, in her “The Image of the Word” underlines how the Qur’anic text in mosque decoration was actually used with iconographic purposes, that are both related…