Fall 2015

Arts of the Islamic Book

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-267  |  Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-267


Yael R. Rice (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 267 and ASLC 267.)  This course considers the arts of the Islamic book, with a special focus on illustrated manuscripts produced at the royal courts of Greater Iran (including Afghanistan and Uzbekistan) and Islamic South Asia from the thirteenth through the seventeenth centuries. Among the types of manuscripts to be considered are dynastic and world histories, poetic works, horoscopes, genealogies, divinations texts, and albums. The class will explore in depth the nature of the royal book workshop, manuscript patronage and production (from paper, pigments, and brushes to gold leaf illumination and binding), the formation of visual and stylistic idioms, the roles of originality and imitation in artistic practice, the aesthetics of the illustrated page, word and text relationships, and the theorization of painting and calligraphy in technical treatises, poetry, and other primary texts. Emphasis will be placed on the great movement of artists, materials, and ideas across the Islamic world, all of which contributed to the rise of an elite, cosmopolitan culture of manuscript connoisseurs. Examination of objects in the Mead Art Museum, Frost Library, and other local collections will supplement classroom discussion and assigned readings. No previous knowledge of the topic is presumed, and all reading will be available in English.

Limited to 20 students.  Fall semester. Professor Rice.


If Overenrolled: Priority to Art and ASLC majors, then juniors, seniors in order to achieve a range of students across the disciplines.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Fall 2019