Drawing Ire: Illustrated Ottoman Satirical Magazines – Asian and African studies blog

The pen is mightier than the sword, they say, but sometimes it’s the cartoonist’s pencil that stings the most. Around the world, caricaturists of all political stripes have long used their illustrations to lampoon the rich and powerful. Sometimes, their humour is focused on the foibles and follies of celebrities. This can take a dark turn when jokes are based on racist, misogynistic, homophobic or other tropes (consider the controversy over a cartoon of Serena Williams in 2019). But, such illustrations can also be a lighthearted means of exposing the mundane and endearing flaws of those whom we admire. Roasting the actions and decisions of the political élite, on the other hand, can bring about wrath unmatched by that of sports or entertainment stars, even when the images’ stated purpose was the betterment of society and progress in politics. The lands of the former Ottoman Empire are certainly no stranger to such dynamics. In 2017, our colleague Daniel Lowe curated an exhibition of the Arabic comic tradition that contained a considerable representation of satirical cartoons. For this year’s World Press Freedom Day, I’m going to share a few examples of the Ottoman Turkish satirical press from the British Library’s collections, and highlight some of the special connections between the United Kingdom and this vibrant part of Turkish culture.

 

Source: Drawing Ire: Illustrated Ottoman Satirical Magazines – Asian and African studies blog

MYSTICISM IN MINIATURE ART: AN INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST FATIMA ZAHRA HASSAN from Scripts ‘N’ Scribes

 May 15, 2018
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Night of Union – Before & After

Miniature painting is widely recognized for its highly decorative and graphical images. They are some of the most fascinating pieces of art to look at, given the format and their level of intricate detail. Like Islamic calligraphy and illumination, it is a form of traditional Islamic art and is considered to be one of the most developed forms of Islamic painting. Originally, these small paintings were part of a manuscript, used as a front piece or an illustration for a text. Often made for and owned by rulers and wealthy patrons as illustrated manuscripts, these traditional works depicted lives of kings, scenes from battles, leisurely pursuits of rulers, or inspired by poems, such as the famous work of Persian poet Ferdousi, the Shahnameh.

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More: https://www.scriptsnscribes.com/blogs/2018/5/15/mysticism-in-miniature-art-an-interview-with-artist-fatima-zahra-hassan

Heirloom Tech: The Ancient Pixels of Banna’i Brickwork by Goli Mohammadi from Make

Long before the first digital pixel, architects and builders were using bricks and tiles to create pixelated patterns on structures. The technique, which is still in use today, is known as banna’i and was developed in the Middle East in the 8th century. The brick, as a building material, dates back to around 7500 BC in the upper Tigris area and Anatolia. To display text in banna’i, artisans employ mostly the Kufi calligraphic style, known for transforming the traditionally curved lines of Arabic into straight lines and sharp angles, alternating glazed and bare bricks to write out prayers (like fancy bitmap fonts) or replicate geometric patterns.

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More: http://makezine.com/2016/12/09/heirloom-tech-ancient-pixels-bannai-brickwork/

DEEP FOCUS: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF ABBAS KIAROSTAMI by HG MASTERS, From ArtAsiaPacific

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By chance, a few weeks ago I came across an audio recording of an interview that I did with the late Iranian filmmaker and photographer Abbas Kiarostami in May 2013, when he was having an exhibition of his “Snow Series” (1999–2002) photographs at Rossi & Rossi gallery in Hong Kong. In the past few days, after learning that the legendary Iranian cineaste had died in Paris on July 4, I listened to that interview again and transcribed it. Our conversation lasted less than 30 minutes and Kiarostami was tired from his trip and eager to finish a pack of cigarettes that he claimed would be his last. We spoke through an interpreter, although Kiarostami understood many of my questions. He wore his trademark sunglasses while we sat at a desk in the back room of the gallery, so it was hard to see his eyes. He didn’t particularly seem to enjoy talking about his own photographs, and it took some time before he would give up information about them or about what he thought of the works. But his own comparison between the “Snow Series” and Japanese sumi-e brush-painting best revealed the kind of meditative precision he sought, as well as the kind of relationship to nature he was evoking. Though very different than his socially oriented films, his photographs are similarly pared down and intensely focused, and should also be seen as an effort to get directly to the essence of things.

More: http://www.artasiapacific.com/Blog/DeepFocusThePhotographyOfAbbasKiarostami

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A Mughal Shahnamah – British Library Blog

By Ursula Sims-Williams, Asian and African Collections

More: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2016/06/a-mughal-shahnamah.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+asian-and-african+%28Asia+and+Africa%29

This copy of the Shāhnāmah is thought to date originally from the 15th century. Unfortunately it has no colophon but it was extensively refurbished in India at the beginning of the 17th century when the 90 illustrations were added. These are numbered consecutively 1-91, only lacking no. 37 which, together with a gap of about 150 verses, is missing at the beginning of the story of Bīzhan and Manīzhah between folios 201v and 202r. The manuscript was altered again in the first half of the 18th century when elaborate paper guards and markers were added. The magnificent decorated binding, however, dates from the early 17th century.

Leaving His Mark on an Ancient Art: Arabic Calligrapher Honda Kōichi Culture – www.nippon.com

 

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Honda Kōichi Arabic calligrapher. Born in 1946 in Kanagawa Prefecture. President of the Japan Arabic Calligraphy Association and a professor of international relations at Daitō Bunka University. In 1969, graduated from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, where he studied Arabic. Joined the Pacific Aerial Survey Co. in 1975 and spent the next five years in the Middle East, where he picked up the basics of Arabic calligraphy. Continued to study calligraphy on his own after returning to Japan under the long-distance guidance of Turkish calligrapher Hasan Çelebi, from whom he received his “Ijaza” diploma as a master calligrapher in 2000. Has won numerous awards for his work, starting with the Jury’s Encouragement Prize at the 1990 International Arabic Calligraphy Contest. His published works include Pasupōto shokyū Arabiago jiten (The Passport Beginner’s Arabic Dictionary), Arabiago no nyūmon (An Introduction to Arabic) and Arabia moji o kaite miyō yonde miyō (Try Writing and Reading Arabic), as well as a collection of his calligraphy works titled Arabia shodō no uchū (The Universe of Arabic Calligraphy).

More: http://www.nippon.com/en/people/e00028/

Ferozkoh: Renewing the Arts of the Turquoise Mountain July/August 2015, Written by Lee Lawrence Photographs courtesy of Turquoise Mountain Institute

It is difficult to create art in isolation,” says master calligrapher Khwaja Qamaruddin Cheshti. The artist “needs to be surrounded by older art, and maybe he combines his skills with the inspiration he finds in older pieces.”

Cheshti is speaking through a translator from the Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture in Kabul, Afghanistan. A restored, 19th-century fort in the historic Murad Khane neighborhood, its alcoves topped with delicately pointed arches, it is a fitting backdrop to speak about two weeks he and more than a dozen Afghan artists and craftspeople spent in Doha, Qatar, at the Museum of Islamic Art—or mia—where Cheshti rediscovered this age-old truth.

More: http://www.aramcoworld.com/en-US/Articles/July-2015/Ferozkoh-Renewing-the-Arts-of-the-Turquoise-Mount

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Exploring Ruzbihan’s palette: Ultramarine

Chester Beatty Conservation

This is the first of a number of posts which will explore the palette of the Ruzbihan Qur’an, the spectacular 16th century Persian manuscript currently at the centre of our exhibition Lapis and Gold: The story of the Ruzbihan Qur’an.

In late 2013 and early 2014, two rounds of non-invasive scientific analysis helped to identify the pigments used by calligrapher Ruzbihan Muhammad al-Tab‘i al-Shirazi and his team of artists. The pigment analysis was part of a larger research project to increase our knowledge of mid-16th century Shirazi artists’ materials and techniques, contributing to a fuller understanding of the working methodologies of Islamic book artists at this time.

Slide1.JPG Examining folios from the Ruzbihan Qur’an (CBL Is 1558) with scientists from MOLAB® (left) and curator Dr Elaine Wright (right) in the conservation lab.

The European Commission funded MOLAB® Transnational Access Service, sponsored two teams of dedicated scientists, who…

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The 9th-Century Islamic “Instrument Which Plays by Itself”, From Hyperallergic by Allison Meier on April 12, 2016

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In 2009, Tokyo’s Waseda University built a fedora-sporting flautist robot powered by cranked air. But this is only the most recent attempt at a mechanical, flute-playing musician. In the 9th century, the Banū Mūsā brothers in Baghdad wrote a treatise describing their “instrument which plays by itself.

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Cover of ‘Allah’s Automata’ (image courtesy Hatje Cantz) (click to enlarge)

Their innovative machine is described in Allah’s Automata: Artifacts of the Arabic-Islamic Renaissance (800-1200), recently published by Hatje Cantz. The book accompanies an exhibition of the same name, currently on view at the ZKM (Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe) in Germany, that includes a reconstruction of their instrument. While automata had their golden age in Europe from the 16th to 19th centuries — which saw the creation of such devices as the clock of Diana in her chariot that rolled across a table and shot an arrow — in the Islamic world their peak was from the 9th to 13th centuries. The most famous, also reconstructed for Allah’s Automata, is the 12th-century elephant water clock. The shapes of its various hydraulic elements could be interpreted as symbols of the international trade that facilitated its creation by Ismail al-Jazari, including an Indian elephant, Chinese dragons, and an Egyptian phoenix riding above a Muslim scholar who writes the time.