Middle Eastern Art
Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan
Nomads and Networks
The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan
Hardcover      ISBN: 0691154805

The catalogue for the groundbreaking exhibition at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, Nomads and Networks presents an unparalleled overview of the sophisticated culture of pastoral nomadic populations who lived on the territory of present-day Kazakhstan from roughly the middle of the first millennium BCE to the early centuries CE.

Focusing on material from the Altai and Tianshan regions, Nomads and Networks explores the specific conditions of mobile lifeways that resulted from particular ecological conditions in the steppes and high valleys of Inner Eurasia. Highlights of the exhibition are grave goods from the burial mounds at the site of Berel and gold mortuary ornaments from Shilikty, Zhalauli, and Kargaly. Attesting to a sophisticated decorative art flourishing among these nomadic populations, the objects skillfully combine older iconographic traditions of animal style in the steppe with more recent influences from foreign cultures--most notably Persia and China.

Contributors include Nursan Alimbai, Nikolay A. Bokovenko, Claudia Chang, Bryan K. Hanks, Sagynbay Myrgabayev, Karen S. Rubinson, Zainolla S. Samashev, S ren Stark, and Abdesh T. Toleubaev.

Cover photograph (c) Bruce M. White, 201?

Palmyra: Mirage in the Desert
Palmyra
Mirage in the Desert
Paperback      ISBN: 1588396312

In this important and timely publication, top international scholars present current research and developments about the art, archaeology, and history of the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Syria. Palmyra became tragic headline news in 2015, when it was overtaken by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which destroyed many of its monuments and artifacts. The essays in this book include new scholarship on Palmyra's origins and evolution as well as developments from both before and after its damage by ISIS, providing new information that will be relevant to current and future generations of art historians and archaeologists. The book also includes a moving tribute by Waleed Khaled al-Asa'ad to his father, Khaled al-Asa'ad, the Syrian archaeologist and head of antiquities at Palmyra, who was brutally murdered by ISIS in 2015 for defending the site.

Persian Designs and Motifs for Artists and Craftsmen
Persian Designs and Motifs for Artists and Craftsmen
Paperback      ISBN: 0486238156

Outstanding collection of 400 motifs of rich Persian tradition, ready to use in many areas of design. The motifs include floral designs, geometrics, arabesques, mythical creatures, rosettes, paisley patterns, palmettes, medallions, border and marginal decorations, scrolls, curves, and hunting scenes.

Posthumous Images: Contemporary Art and Memory Politics in Post-Civil War Lebanon
Posthumous Images
Contemporary Art and Memory Politics in Post-Civil War Lebanon
Paperback      ISBN: 0822347660

For almost two decades of its history (1975-90), Lebanon was besieged by sectarian fighting, foreign invasions, and complicated proxy wars. In Posthumous Images, Chad Elias analyzes a generation of contemporary artists who have sought, in different ways, to interrogate the contested memory of those years of civil strife and political upheaval. In their films, photography, architectural projects, and multimedia performances, these artists appropriate existing images to challenge divisive and violent political discourses. They also create new images that make visible individuals and communities that have been effectively silenced, rendered invisible, or denied political representation. As Elias demonstrates, these practices serve to productively unsettle the distinctions between past and present, the dead and the living, official history and popular memory. In Lebanon, the field of contemporary art is shown to be critical to remembering the past and reimagining the future in a nation haunted by a violent and unresolved war.

The Praiseworthy One: The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images
The Praiseworthy One
The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images
Hardcover      ISBN: 0253025265

In the wake of controversies over printing or displaying images of the Prophet Muhammad, Christiane Gruber's aim is to bring back into scholarly and public discussion the 'lost' history of imagining the Prophet in Islamic cultures. By studying the various verbal and visual constructions of the Prophet's character and persona over the course of more than one thousand years, Gruber seeks to correct public misconceptions and restore to Islam its rich artistic heritage, illuminating the critical role Muhammad has played in Muslim constructions of self and community at different times and in various cultural contexts.


The Praiseworthy One is an exploration of the Prophet Muhammad's significance in Muslim life and thought from the beginning of Islam to today. It pays particular attention to procedures of narration, veneration, and sacralization. Gruber stresses that a fruitful approach to extant textual and visual materials is one that emphasizes the harnessing of Muhammad's persona as a larger metaphor to explain both past and present historical events, to build and delineate a sense of community, and to help individuals conceive of and communicate with the realm of the sacred. The Praiseworthy One shows that Muhammad has served as a polyvalent symbol rather than a historical figure with fixed significance.

Rachid Koraïchi: The Invisible Masters
Rachid Koraïchi
The Invisible Masters
Hardcover      ISBN: 2330052170

Algerian artist Rachid Kora chi (born 1947) created The Invisible Masters as a set of 99 handmade cotton banners. Each banner features Kora chi's inventive signs, and pays homage to one of 14 Sufi mystic masters such as R m and Hafez. This book reproduces the entire series with critical commentary.

The Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery, and Lore of the Persian Carpet
The Root of Wild Madder
Chasing the History, Mystery, and Lore of the Persian Carpet
Paperback      ISBN: 0743264215

Every Persian carpet has a story to tell -- from the remote villages of Afghanistan and Iran, down the ancient trade routes traveled for centuries, to the bazaars of Tehran and the markets of the Western world. Carpet-making is one of this tumultuous region's few constants, an art form that transcends religious and political turmoil. Part travelogue and part exploration into the meaning and worth of these mystical artifacts, The Root of Wild Madder presents practical information about carpets while exploring the artistic, religious, and cultural complexities of these enigmatic lands.

Signs of Our Times: From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti
Signs of Our Times
From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti
Hardcover      ISBN: 1858946522

Signs of Our Times: From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti covers six decades of an art trend led by artists from the Arab world and Iran. Starting in the early 1950s, this alternative and original approach to modernism began with artists who took inspiration from their own cultural sources and combined them with international aesthetics and concepts.

This publication considers the work of 50 key artists, ranging from important pioneers of the calligraphic movement to those who use the written word in their work today. The book begins with a contribution from Venetia Porter, curator of Islamic and contemporary Middle Eastern art at the British Museum, who provides a historical contextualization of the movement and its relationship to lettrism in Europe. In a second essay, the writer and curator Rose Issa presents an overview of 60 years of the art movement in Arab countries and Iran, from the independences of the late 1940s and 1950s to the present day. A timeline by Juliet Cestar, an expert on contemporary Middle Eastern art, then sets out major cultural and historical events in the Middle East over the course of the last 60 years.

The main part of the book is divided into three sections, each devoted to a different generation of artists: the first generation of pioneers, who created a new aesthetic language following the independence of their countries; the second generation of artists, who mostly live in exile and who reference their own cultures and languages in their work; and the third generation, comprising contemporary artists who have absorbed international aesthetics, concepts and languages and who occasionally use Arabic and Persian script, or the morphology of letters, in their work. The entry for each artist includes a concise biography and a statement from the artist about their work. The artworks, in a variety of media, are also interspersed with poems and relevant literature, putting into personal and historical contexts the innovative use of words in art.
Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline
Syria Speaks
Art and Culture from the Frontline
Paperback      ISBN: 0863567878

In Syria, culture has become a critical line of defence
against tyranny.

Syria Speaks is a celebration of a people determined to
reclaim their dignity, freedom and self-expression. It
showcases the work of over fifty artists and writers who
are challenging the culture of violence in Syria. Their
literature, poems and songs, cartoons, political posters
and photographs document and interpret the momentous
changes that have shifted the frame of reality so drastically
in Syria.

Moving and inspiring, Syria Speaks is testament to the
courage, creativity and imagination of the Syrian people.

A unique anthology providing a window into Syrian art and
writing since the uprising. Contributors include
internationally renowned artists and writers, such as
Ali Ferzat, Samar Yazbek, Khaled Khalifa and Robin Yassin-Kassab.

The book includes 108 colour illustrations.
Text/Ures of Iraq: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Oded Halahmy
Text/Ures of Iraq
Contemporary Art from the Collection of Oded Halahmy
Paperback      ISBN: 0998207527
Text/ures of Iraq presents work by New York-based sculptor Oded Halahmy, a Jewish native of Baghdad, alongside that of eight contemporary artists from Iraq: Hayder Ali, Amal Alwan, Mohammed al Hamadany, Ismail Khayat, Hanaa Malallah, Hassan Massoudy, Naziha Rashid, and Qasim Sabti. Gathering works that reference Iraq's literary past in an effort to better understand the region's present, the book finds its constituent artists celebrating their country as a pastoral idyll, where people of different beliefs, cultures, and ethnicities peacefully coexisted for centuries, while also mourning the gradual, more recent fraying of Iraqi culture. The layered and abraded surfaces of some of the pieces speak to the persistence of violence, while the picturesqueness of others captures the powerful affective textures of nostalgia and exile.

The book also features examples of modern Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy, including some variants of this form that evoke hurufiyah, an influential modern Arab variant of Lettrism that uses the swoops and curves of the Arabic alphabet as painterly gestures. From abstract collages constructed out of the remains of destroyed books to the Hebrew calligraphy seen in Halahmy's art, these works demonstrate the importance of the literary in Iraqi society, culture, and visual arts of the past and present day.