Comprising a website, a traveling exhibition, and book, Qantara is a very rich and interesting resource for studying the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean from Late Antiquity to the 18th century. The website contains over 1500 entries from Western Europe, Byzantium, and Islamic regions that include objects, sites, and monuments. The material can be searched using various intersections such as materials, subjects, or historical period. Each entry has descriptive metadata (size, media, discovery and repository information), a short descriptive essay, and a bibliography.
There are repositories and cultural heritage institutions from nine countries involved in Qantara, and the information has been reviewed by over 200 experts including curators, historians, and researchers.
The Getty’s online magazine The Getty Iris has launched the series Medieval Manuscripts Alive, which features expert speakers reading the languages of the Middle Ages from centuries-old books. It aims to bring the manuscripts’ accompanying illuminations to life through sound. Each reading is accompanied by a translation into English and a brief description of the relationship between the text and image. In collaboration with the British Library’s Language & Literature audio collection, the Getty’s manuscripts collection will soon be heard in 15 languages, including Coptic, Ge’ez, Arabic and more.
The Visual Resources Collections at the University of Michigan just announced that the Simpson Islamic Manuscript Record Archive is available online. They write, “Dr. Simpson served as Curator of Islamic Near Eastern Art at the Freer/Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Islamic Art at the Walters Art Museum, and Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan (2005).”
The website for the Simpson Islamic Manuscript Record Archive contains more than 500 documentation records and approximately 4,800 images (in a variety of media including prints, color slides, digital images, and microfilm). The Simpson Archive “is organized by repository name and manuscript accession number or shelf mark (for example, “British Library Add. 7622”)” and each record contains robust cataloging information about the manuscript.
This collection is related to the Islamic Art Archives at the University of Michigan, which has more than 900 digitized manuscripts available in HathiTrust.
MIT’s Archnet, a collaboration between the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT Libraries, “is a portal to rich and unique scholarly resources featuring thousands of sites, publications, images, and more focused on architecture, urbanism, environmental and landscape design, visual culture, and conservation issues related to the Muslim world.” The website has recently been remained and restructured since its launch ten years ago.
The website features a timeline, a wide variety of digital collections and research materials, an advanced search, and selected syllabi pertaining to the study of Islamic Art, Architecture, and Culture.
To explore for yourself, check out Archnet!
The University of Michigan Library recently announced that it has completed cataloging its entire Islamic Manuscripts Collection, which resulted in the creation if 883 new catalog records and expanding 21 existing descriptions. Now that the project is complete, the entire collection is available in the library’s online catalog, complete with detailed, searchable descriptions.
Additionally, there are digital surrogates for 912 manuscripts from the library’s collection available in the HathiTrust Digital Library. There, users can view the digitized manuscripts in a page viewer or download the entire book or individual pages as PDFs.
The Library created a research guide for the collection, which provides stellar information on the history and scope of the collection, as well as search strategies, policies for viewing manuscripts in the library, and instructions on how to access the digitized manuscripts in HathiTrust.
Image from [al-Ḥizb al-aʻẓam maʻa Dalāʼil al-khayrāt, . Qārī al-Harawī, ʻAlī ibn Sulṭān Muḥammad, d. 1605 or 6.
The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (IFCA) or Dumbarton Oaks in Washington DC has recently expanded the images included in their website dedicated to the photographs of Nicholas V. Artamonoff, who photographed Ottoman monuments and daily life in Istanbul during the 1930s and 1940s. Other Turkish cities represented in the collection include Bergama, Bursa, Izmir, Selçuk and Yalova. While the ICFA holds a collection of Artamonoff’s images in their repository, they discovered that other photographs are held in the the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives of the Smithsonian Institution in the Myron Bement Smith Collection. The addition of 477 images from the Smithsonian brings the total number of photographs available in the ICFA’s website to more than 1,000.
The ICFA’s website allows users to browse images individually or by parent institution, historic site, or keywords. There is also a map with plotted points that link to images in the collection to allow users to browse geographically and a “Zoom.it” viewer function.
For more information, visit the Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection.
Image: Nicholas V. Artamonoff. Cityscapes, Istanbul, View of the Atatürk Bridge and Süleymaniye Cami, no date. Myron Bement Smith Collection, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Artamonoff P382.
Many Viennese museums include important works of art from the Islamic world in their collections. Often these works are rarely exhibited, not well-known to the public or even to Islamic scholars. The Virtual Museum of Islamic Art in Vienna brings together images from disparate museums and repositories so that they may be viewed, studied, and compared in a new and meaningful context.
The virtual museum’s website is available here. Images can be accessed according to the collections (“Museen”) or according to the dates of the objects (“Zeitstreifen”). Currently the site is only available in German.
The Netherlands Institute in Turkey has recently released the first installment of digital images from the vast photographic archives of Dutch historian Machiel Kiel.
A former director of the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT), at which this project is now implemented, Kiel is a scholar whose career has revolved around the study of Ottoman-Islamic architectural monuments in the Balkan countries — an area of study that he pioneered. His archive represents an invaluable source for researchers of this heritage. Created for the most part between the 1960s and 90s, it contains visual documentation of many monuments that have not survived, or have been significantly altered in, the second half of the twentieth century. The publication of Kiel’s archive by the NIT is hoped to significantly advance international research on this heritage.
Images are available for publication free of charge (with attribution). For more information, see the FAQ section of this page.
The Chester Beatty Library Seals Project:
is an online, interactive database of seal impressions found in Islamic Manuscripts… as a visitor to the site, you are invited to participate in deciphering the seals, identifying the individuals or institutions named, and adding information such as other sources of the same seal impression or other seals that name the same individual or institution.
As there is currently no convenient means by which to find or share information on seal impressions, we hope that this database will be a useful resource for anyone working on Islamic manuscripts.
A user guide is available here. Individual seals are available for download as low-resolution files for teaching or research. Seal records are also linked to the full manuscript so entire folios may be easily viewed.
The Nicholar Artamonoff Collection at Dumbarton Oaks, an archive of historical photographs of Byzantine Turkey, is available online.
The Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection includes 543 photographs taken in Istanbul and five archaeological sites in Western Turkey (Ephesus, Hierapolis, Laodicea on the Lycus, Pergamum, Priene) from 1935 to 1945. The high quality photographs are of great value as they show buildings, sites, and objects that no longer exist or are in a better state of preservation than today.
Photographs may be browsed by tag (keyword), site name, and geography. Each photograph also includes a correlating Google Map, allowing visitors to see historical