Wednesday 22 May 17:30 - 19:30

Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation
Al-Furqan headquarters office in London
22A Old Court Place
W8 4PL

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Wondrous intricacy: the place of 'carpet pages' in Islamic art


Public Lecture: "Wondrous intricacy: the place of 'carpet pages' in Islamic art" by Dr Umberto Bongianino

"Wondrous intricacy: the place of 'carpet pages' in Islamic art" by Dr Umberto Bongianino

What inspired the aesthetic choices of Quranic illuminators? How did readers experience the so-called 'carpet pages' featured in medieval Quranic manuscripts? While sources extolling book illumination and documenting contemporary responses to it are extremely rare, Arabic literature abounds with ekphrastic passages in praise of architectural decoration and a wide variety of artefacts, from minbars to luxurious textiles. Since the close affinity between the repertoire of medieval illuminators, plaster carvers, woodworkers, and other categories of craftspeople is undeniable, this lecture will argue that all these visual idioms should be approached through a common interpretive lens. The aim is to demonstrate the applicability of aesthetic concepts generally associated with other media β€” such as brilliance, perfection, intricacy, enthrallment, and a range of natural and supernatural similes β€” to the visuality of illuminated manuscripts.

Umberto Bongianino is Departmental Lecturer in Islamic Art and Architecture at the Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford. His research focuses on the material cultures, epigraphic traditions, and scribal practices of al-Andalus and the Maghrib. His recently published monograph is titled The Manuscript Tradition of the Islamic West: MaghribΔ« Round Scripts and the AndalusΔ« Identity (Edinburgh University Press, 2022).

The Evening’s Programme:

5.30 - 6.00 Reception and networking

6.00 - 6.15 Welcoming words

6.15 - 7.15 Keynote lecture by Dr Umberto Bongianino"Wondrous intricacy: the place of 'carpet pages' in Islamic art"

7.15 - 7.30 Discussion

7.30 Closing of the event

Dress code: not applicable

Refreshments: from 5.30 to 6.00 pm.

Invitation: for you and a guest

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