138 results in English
Monuments of Ukrainian Art of the 18th Century
This booklet is by Nikolai Makarenko, a specialist in architecture, art history, and archaeology and later director of the Kiev Museum of Arts. He begins by reflecting on the beneficial effects of Cossack culture on southern Russia and its significant impact on Ukrainian culture. He praises 17th- and 18th-century style and describes Pokrovskaia Church as an example of beautiful and pure architecture. The church was built in 1764 by Pyotr Kalishevski in Romny, Poltavskaia Province, and later moved to the city of Poltava. A new church was built in Romny ...
Carpathian Ruthenia. Ceramics
This image is part of an album probably published in about 1920 that contains 20 photographs of scenes in Carpathian Ruthenia, a mountainous region, most of which was part of the Austria-Hungary before World War I, but which became part of the new Czechoslovak state in 1919. Today the largest portion of it forms Zakarpattia Oblast in western Ukraine, with smaller parts in Slovakia and Poland. Ceramics have been one of the crafts of Carpathian Ruthenia for centuries, as the region has large deposits of kaolin (china clay). Decorated pottery ...
Gulzar Calligraphic Panel
This calligraphic panel executed in black and red on a white ground decorated in gold contains a number of prayers (du'a's) directed to God, the Prophet Muhammad, and his son-in-law 'Ali. The letters of the larger words are executed in nasta'liq script and are filled with decorative motifs, animals, and human figures. This style of script, filled with various motifs, is called gulzar, which literally means 'rose garden' or 'full of flowers.' It usually is applied to the interior of inscriptions executed in nasta'liq, such as ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Pay Off of Spec—the Good Old Times
In the American circus, the spectacle, or “spec,” developed as a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able to costume. Traced back to the earliest circuses in America, the spec was originally a lavish performance of literary or historical tales intended to entertain and edify the audience. The costumes created for specs were often exotic, representing cultures from all corners of the globe. The costumes also could be ...
The Hidden Treasure on Arts and Crafts
Kitāb al-durr al-maknūn fī al-ṣanā’i‘ wa al-funūn (The hidden treasure on arts and crafts) is a compendium of several crafts and artisanal techniques by 19th century Lebanese author Jirjīs Ṭannūs ʻAwn. The book has nine chapters on different crafts: electroplating; the dyeing of fabric; photography; candle-making; and the manufacture of ink, glue, mirrors, ceramics, and soap. A tenth chapter discusses chemical compounds. Most of the book is devoted to three crafts: electroplating, including plating and galvanizing techniques involving copper, brass, gold, and silver; the dyeing of fabric, including natural ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Calligraphic Rubbings of Jiangzhou
Jiang tie (Calligraphic rubbings of Jiangzhou) is an anthology of calligraphic rubbings, in 20 juan. The rubbings were made by Pan Shidan, a Song official in Jiangzhou, thus the title carries the name of the location. Pan was active during the reigns of Huangyou and Jiayou (1049−63) of the Northern Song. This is the earliest example of an anthology of calligraphic rubbings by a private person. The compilation was based on Chunha ge tie (The Chunhuage calligraphic rubbings), the oldest imperial anthology of calligraphic rubbings, but with additions and ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Wax and Soap Production. Making Wax
This photograph is from the trades (economic) part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Manufacture of Wooden Dishes. Domestic Utensils and Wares from Wood
This photograph is from the trades (economic) part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Manufacture of Wooden Dishes. Domestic Utensils and Wares from Wood
This photograph is from the trades (economic) part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Manufacture of Wooden Dishes. Manufacture of Bowls and Rims for Sieves (Turning Bowls)
This photograph is from the trades (economic) part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Emblems: With Many Images from Ancient Works; by Ján Sambucus of Tyrnavia in Pannonia
Emblemata: Cvm Aliqvot Nvmmis Antiqvi Operis (Emblems: with many images from ancient works) is by the notable Slovak poet, polymath, publisher, collector, and university professor Ján Sambucus (also known as János Zsámboki, 1531−84). Born in Trnava (also referred to as Tyrnavia) in western Slovakia, Sambucus was considered to be the outstanding humanistic personality of Central Europe. He maintained contacts with many European scholars, with whom he collaborated in his publishing and collecting activities and his historical research. A substantial part of his life was spent at the imperial court ...
Contributed by Slovak National Library
"Munajat" of 'Abdallah Ansari
This calligraphic fragment includes a maxim drawn from the Munajat (Supplications) of the great Persian mystic and scholar Khwajah 'Abdallah Ansari (died 1088). The two lines describe the benefits of prayer and generosity. The two lines of text are executed in black nasta'liq script on beige paper and framed by delicate cloud bands on a gold illuminated background. The text panel is framed by a variety of borders and pasted to a sheet of purple paper decorated with gold interlacing flower motifs. Between and below the two main lines ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Safinah Fragment
This calligraphic fragment is the first page of an album in a longitudinal shape (safinah). At the top are a fine illuminated panel and finial (sarloh) with gold and blue flower and vine motifs. In the upper and lower corners, two gold and blue illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces) fill the spaces between the rectangular frame and the diagonal lines of text. The text is written in black nasta'liq on beige paper. It includes three bayts (verses) praising God and describing humans' inability to comprehend His power: "Praise ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Verses in Persian and Chaghatay
This calligraphic fragment includes a number of verses in Persian and Chaghatay Turkish (Turkish spoken in Central Asia). A continuous Persian lyrical poem (ghazal) is written in the top and bottom horizontal rectangular panels. Another ghazal appears written in diagonal in the right and left vertical columns. Both ghazals are by the famous Persian poet Shaykh Sa'di (died 1292) and address moral issues. In the central text panel, verses in Chaghatay Turkish are written in black nasta'liq script on beige paper, surrounded by cloud bands on a gold ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Eulogy to a Ruler
This calligraphic fragment includes a central panel with a eulogy to a king written in the "hanging" ta'liq script. Except for one line in black ink, all other horizontal and diagonal lines are written in white and outlined in black. Above the text panel appears, divided into two columns, a bayt (verse) by the great Persian poet Niẓāmī Ganjavī (died 1202 or 1203) about the power of miracles. The bayt is in black nasta'liq script on beige paper. Around the text panel is a blue border inscribed with ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Ghazal by Sa'di
This calligraphic fragment contains a ghazal (lyric poem) by the Persian poet Shaykh Sa'di (died 1292 [691 AH]). The verses describe a lover's search for his beloved and his request that she show herself to him. The verses are written in nasta'liq script using white, light blue, red, and yellow ink on a blue paper. Rangin (colored) inks add variety to the composition and are found in a number of calligraphies produced during the 16th century. The corners left open by the intersection of the diagonal verses ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Verses by Jami
This calligraphic fragment includes verses composed by the Persian poet Jami (died 1492 [897 AH]), whose full name, Mawlana 'Abd al-Rahman Jami, is noted in the topmost panel. In larger script appears a ghazal (lyric poem) in which a lover sighs about the lack of news from his beloved. The central text frames are bordered on the right and left by illuminated panels and contain a ruba'i (iambic pentameter quatrain) written in smaller script. The quatrain encourages true and eternal love of God rather than passing infatuations: "Every beautiful ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Ghazals of Asifi
This calligraphic fragment includes a variety of ghazals (lyric poems) from the Compendium of Poems (Divan) of the Persian poet Asifi. A student of the famous poet Jami (died 1492 [897 AH]) in Herat (present-day Afghanistan), Asifi remained in the Timurid capital city until his death (1517 [923 AH]), even during and after the Uzbek invasions. These particular verses on the fragment's recto and verso portray a lover's madness and his complaints about the pains of separation from the object of his affection. At the end of the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Feast of Iskandar and Nushabah from Niẓāmī's "Iskandarnamah"
The painting on the recto and the text on the verso of this fragment describe an episode in Niẓāmī's Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great), the last text of the author's Khamsah (Quintet). In his work, the great Persian author Niẓāmī Ganjavī (1140 or 1141–1202 or 1203) describes the adventures and battles of Alexander the Great as he travels to the end of the world. On his way to the Land of Darkness, he visits the queen of the Caucasian city of Barda, Nushabah, in order ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Black Practice
This calligraphic sheet includes a number of diagonal words and letters used in combinations facing upwards and downwards on the folio. The common Persian cursive script nasta'liq is favored over the more "broken" shikastah script. These sheets--known as siyah mashq (literally “black practice”) in Persian--were entirely covered with writing as a means of practicing calligraphy and conserving paper. In time, they became collectible items and thus were signed and dated (this fragment, however, does not appear to be signed or dated). Many fragments such as this one were given ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Prayers for Safety and Success
This calligraphic fragment includes verses in Persian praying for the patron's personal well-being and the prosperity of his kingdom. The verses read: "May the world be (your) fortune and the firmament (your) friend / May the World-Creator (God) protect (you) / May all your works be successful / May God of the World look after you / May your heart and your kingdom be collected and well-frequented / May division stay far away from your realm." The verses are executed in black nasta'liq script on beige paper. They are framed by cloud bands ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Wall Hanging
This découpage panel in the shape of a closed altar piece includes a central roundel decorated with interlacing letters whose stems form a central six-pointed star. The round inscription is difficult to decipher, and may comprise a wise saying or a verse from the Qur'an. In the middle of the upper arch, a round hook suggests that it was used as a wall hanging. The extractive technique of découpage is known in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish as qit'a, or literally "cutting out," and artists specializing in this ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Mihrab Découpage Panel
This piece of white paper has been carefully cut out to produce an elaborate image of interlacing vines and flowers. In the central panel, two columns border the right and left vertical frame and appear to hold an almost baroque arch in which hangs a lamp. This motif may be identified as a mihrab, or the prayer niche in the qibla wall of a mosque (i.e., the wall facing Mecca), illuminated by a hanging mosque lamp. Above the mihrab, a rectangular frame contains the words Allah, Muhammad (peace and ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Verses by Hilālī
This calligraphic fragment includes three distinct text panels all executed in Nasta'liq script: one written in black ink on blue paper, another in white ink on beige paper with two illuminated triangles (or thumb pieces) in the upper and lower corners, and a third (lowest on the page) written in black ink on beige paper. All three panels were cut out and placed together, provided with a gold frame, and pasted to a larger sheet of paper decorated with flecks of gold. The blue text panel includes verses composed ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Three Bayts (Verses) to a Loved One
This calligraphic fragment includes three bayts (verses) of poetry in the main text panel and ten verses around this panel, creating a textual frame decorated with gold vine and leaf motifs. The entire calligraphic piece is pasted to a paper decorated with blue geometric and vegetal motifs highlighted in gold. The central text panel is topped by an illuminated rectangular panel and includes a decorative triangle in the upper left corner. The verses in the central panel are written in nasta'liq script on a white ground decorated with ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Diploma
This ijazah, or diploma of competency in Arabic calligraphy, was written by 'Ali Ra'if Efendi in 1791 (1206 AH). The top and middle panels contain a saying (hadith) attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. It reads: "Secret charity quenches the wrath of the Lord. / The best of you is the best for his family. / The best of the followers is Uways." In the two lowermost panels are the signed and dated approvals of two master calligraphers, Mustafa al-Halimi and Husayn Hamid. Each section of writing appears on a separate piece ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Seductiveness of the World
This calligraphic panel includes three rubā'iyāt (iambic pentameter quatrains) in nasta'liq script on beige or blue papers cut out and pasted onto a sheet from a muraqqa' (album) of calligraphies. The quatrain in the upper-left panel, executed in black on a cream-colored sheet decorated with vine motifs painted in gold, reads: “Everyone whose heart is seduced by the world / Avoid (him) because of the pride of his ignorance / Grab the hem of that (person) who, because of his greatness, / Has left behind the world and its dwellers.” The ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Arabic Primer of Calligraphy
Muhammad Shafiq (died 1879) was a major Ottoman calligrapher who excelled in instructional calligraphic pieces. This particular work, filled throughout with intricate arabesque floral designs typical of the late Ottoman period, is in a notable Arabic calligraphic style, the naskhi script, which connects the Arabic letters to one another in a harmonious way. Of interest in this particular work is the binding, which reveals the origins of the manuscript. The typical flap is a hallmark of most valuable Islamic bindings throughout history. The covers are richly gilt in floral decorations ...
Contributed by Yale University Library
Cup, Out of Which the Empress Catherine the Great Drank, When She Visited the Monastery. Near Rostov Velikii. Our Savior-Iakovlevskii Monastery
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.
Contributed by Library of Congress
The New Passover Haggadah
The Passover, or Pesach, Haggadah is one of the most important and beloved texts in the Jewish tradition. At the beginning of Passover, Jews the world over gather around tables to read from the Haggadah, a book containing the traditional narrative of the Exodus from Egypt. “Haggadah” means recital or retelling. With its songs and tales and emphasis on the instruction of children, the ancient Passover story is the most commonly illustrated Jewish prayer book. The New Passover Haggadah was created by Israeli artist Asher Kalderon, who in his introduction ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Decorated Objects Made of Leather and Cloth
Torzhok is among the oldest settlements in central Russia. Referred to in written sources as early as 1139, it is situated on the Tvertsa River some 60 kilometers to the west of Tver. Its favorable location made it a place of active commerce (the name “Torzhok” comes from the word for trading site). After the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, Torzhok saw a revival of its fortunes, as the town became a major transfer point for supplies moving to the new imperial capital. By the turn of the 19th ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Moriah Haggadah
The Passover, or Pesach, Haggadah is one of the most important and beloved texts in the Jewish tradition. At the beginning of Passover, Jews the world over gather around tables to read from the Haggadah, a book containing the traditional narrative of the Exodus from Egypt. “Haggadah” means recital or retelling. With its songs and tales and emphasis on the instruction of children, the ancient Passover story is the most commonly illustrated Jewish prayer book. The Moriah Haggadah was created by Israeli artist Avner Moriah, who drew his models from ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This fragment includes on its recto the last verse (110) of the 18th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-Kahf (The cave). The heading of the next chapter (19) entitled Surat Maryam (Mary) appears on the fragment's verso. The Qur'anic text itself is executed on rag paper in old Persian Naskh and provided with interlinear Persian translations. Like the chapter heading on its verso, the last line of Surat al-Kahf is executed in plaited eastern Kufi, with knots executed in black ink on the letters' stems and ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes verses 35–36 of the 40th chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Ghafir (The forgiver), also known as al-Mu'min (The believer). Verses 36 and 37 of the same surah continue on the fragment's verso. This chapter of the Qur'an uses the story of an individual believer (Moses) among people ruled by an arrogant leader (Pharaoh) to show how faith can prevail against evil. These two verses state that God closes the hearts of "arrogant and obstinate transgressors," such as Pharaoh, who believes ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This folio contains verses 1–4 of the second chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Baqarah (The cow), the fourth of five folios belonging to a dispersed Qur'an manuscript in the collections of the Library of Congress. Together, these folios constitute the first five folios of a beautiful, albeit damaged, 14th-century Mamluk Qur'an. The title of the chapter, executed on a blue and gold background in the top and bottom rectangular panels, gives the name of the surah and the total number of verses (286), words, and letters ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Illuminated Panel and Qur'anic Chapter
This illuminated rectangular panel appears at the very beginning of a Qur'an executed in early Naskh script, dating from about the 11th–13th centuries. On the verso of the folio appears al-Fatihah (The opening), the first chapter of the Qur'an. Ornamental pages such as this one decorate the start or end of Qur'ans from the ninth century onward. Also called "carpet pages," they provide an ornamental and structural break in the manuscript. Rectangular panels filled with geometric motifs and provided with a finial or leaf-like medallion on ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Qur'anic Verses
This Qur'anic fragment includes the last verse (30) of the 32nd chapter of the Qur'an, Surat al-Sajdah (The prostration), as well as the bismillah (in the name of God) and first verse of the subsequent chapter (33) entitled Surat al-Ahzab (The confederates). The subsequent verses of Surat al-Ahzab continue on the fragment's verso. The title executed in gold ink outlined in black specifies that the chapter contains 73 verses. The beginning of this surah discusses the necessity of abandoning pagan customs. The verso of this fragment includes ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Beginning of Niẓāmī's "Iqbalnamah"
This illuminated folio continues the beginning of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Iqbalnamah (The book of progress), the second of two sections in the last book, Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great), of the author’s Khamsah (Quintet). It follows the first two illuminated folios of the book and provides multiple subhan (praises) of the Creator, as well as a eulogy on Muhammad, the Lord of the Messengers. Niẓāmī introduces each of his five books with introductory praises of God and His Prophet before launching into a narrative. The verso of ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Colophon of Niẓāmī's "Sharafnamah" and Title Page of Niẓāmī's "Iqbalnamah"
This folio contains the last lines and colophon of the Sharafnamah (The book of honor), the first section of the fifth book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Khamsah (Quintet) entitled Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great). On the folio's verso appears the beginning of the second section of the Iskandarnamah called Iqbalnamah (The book of progress), arranged in an illuminated title page, which contains a heading written in white ink: Kitab Iqbalnamah-yi Shaykh Nizami, 'alayhi al-rahmah wa-al-maghfarah (The book of progress of Niẓāmī, mercy and forgiveness upon him). The ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Colophon of Niẓāmī's "Makhzan al-Asrar" and Title Page of Niẓāmī's "Khusraw va Shirin"
This folio contains the illuminated title page of the second book of Niẓāmī's Khamsah (Quintet), entitled Khusraw va Shirin, and the colophon of the preceding work, Makhzan al-Asrar (The treasury of secrets). Written during the last few decades of the 12th century, the Khamsah consists of five books written in rhyming distichs. Along with Firdawsī's Shahnamah (Book of kings), the Khamsah stands out as one of the great monuments of medieval Persian poetry. It is about the love relationship of the last great Sasanian ruler, Khusraw Parvīz (590 ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Beginning of Niẓāmī's "Khusraw va Shirin"
This illuminated folio contains the introductory praise dar tawhid-i Bari (to God and His Unity, or on the Unity of the Creator) of the second book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Khamsah (Quintet), entitled Khusraw va Shirin. It continues the text of the first two folios of the book, also held in the Library of Congress, and thus completes the praise of God typically found at the beginning of each book of the Khamsah. This first section is then followed, as seen on this folio, by an examination of the istidlal ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Fainting of Laylah and Majnun from Niẓāmī's "Khamsah"
This folio depicts a well-known passage from the tragic story of Laylah and Majnun described in the third book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Khamsah (Quintet). Forcibly separated by the animosity of their respective tribes toward each other, forced marriages, and years of exile in the wilderness, the two ill-fated lovers meet again for the last time before each is to die, thanks to the intervention of Majnun's elderly messenger. Upon seeing each other in a palm-grove outside of Laylah's camp, they faint from pain and extreme passion. The ...
Contributed by Library of Congress