The Minaret of Semnan

I heard of an old minaret, which I found before the police found me. We cannot say that┬áRobert Byron visited the Friday Mosque of Semnan. It is more correct to say that he passed by and took a photo, at least as long as we trust what’s written in his travelogue. Also, he does not…

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).

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.

XII century Iranian tombstones – reading what museums don’t read

Do I have to say again that I like tombstones? I think it’s quite clear… In these days, following the post about signatures on Iranian tombstones from XII century, I started to search similar material in museums and auction houses just to have an overall view on the subject. Well…I must admit that some of…

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…