Reviews

This lavishly edited collection of essays proposes an overall reassessment of long understudied and underestimated nineteenth-century Islamic art and architecture.  Contrary to prevailing stereotypes on the degeneration of the arts of Islam in a time of European dominance, the authors show that the arts of that period were of a great diversity, through an overall revaluation of classical Islamic heritage and vernacular tradition, coupled with the adoption of new styles and techniques (see notably: Fortna Benjamin C., “An Historical Introduction to the Nineteenth Century: Trends and Influences,” 1-18; Vernoit Stephen, “The Visual Arts in Nineteenth-Century Muslim Thought,” 19-36).  After these general introductions, the following essays provide case studies of architecture and art in Ottoman Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, sub-Saharan Africa, Iran, India, the Caribbean, and Central Asia (Rogers J. M., “Nineteenth-Century Tilework at Khiva,” 363-85, 13 ill.).  The authors have been dealing with the overall question of a response to European art through the questions of patronage and of the sources of artistic inspiration.  In all, this outstandingly coherent collection brings a rich contribution to the ongoing debates on identity and modernisation in the world of Islam.  A more detailed account of it will be published in volume 2 of the Central Eurasian Reader.

The Redaction
CER: I-4.1-352