Woodwork of the Timurid Period in Iran and Central Asia
The project “Retrieving the past, shaping the future: The woodwork of fourteenth to sixteenth century Iran and Central Asia in its cultural and historical context” aims to analyze and interpret a larger collection of a specific type (kind/ genre) of material culture which has been produced in Iran and Central Asia mainly during the Timurid period (c. 1370 to c. 1510).
While only few woodcarvings from a secular context have survived, the bulk of material, mainly doors, grills (mashrabiyas), minbars and cenotaphs, belongs or belonged to religious buildings, mosques, madrasas and mausolea, the latter ones often shrines of descendants of the Imams, spreading all over Iran, but with a strong focus in the northern provinces of Mazandaran and Gilan, rich on trees and therefor on wood, too.
Many objects contain inscriptions at various length providing beyond religious texts (Qur’an, Hadith among others) historical information as the name of the patron, the name(s) of the wood worker(s) (najjar) and the date when the object has been produced allowing to prepare a framework of dated woodwork during the 14th to 16th centuries.
Beyond its historical and art historical approach, this project also has a heritage related aspect: the ”virtual protection” of material which has been and still is under permanent threat to be neglected, over-restored or stolen.
Some research projects are presented here, linked to images from the image archive. Various related publications are accessible on academia.edu.
Read more: Research Topics
History of Islamic Art History
Special attention is given to the first generation of Islamic Art Historians (even before this term was generally used) and their impact on the History of Islamic Art & Architecture: e.g. the researcher, travelor, collector and first director of the "Islamic Department" of the Royal Museums at Berlin (today Museum of Islamic Art of the State Museums at Berlin) Friedrich Paul Sarre (1865 - 1945), who's 150. anniversary in 2015 has been celebrated, as well as the genious, but also very controversal art historian Josef Strzygowski (1862 - 1941).
In addition, cross connections, i. e. networks that also include lesser-known names will be shown. In the course of time, a comprehensive index of German-speaking researchers (born before 1914) from the fields of Islamic art history, architecture and archeology with biographical information, bibliographical references and pictorial material will emerge.
Forscher aus dem Bereich Islamische Kunstgeschichte und verwandter Gebiete
Read more: Islamic Art Historiography
The Bosphorus wallpaper by Josef Dufour in the castle Herrnsheim near Worms
As part of the renovation of Schloss Herrnsheim near Worms, built by Emmerich Josef von Dalberg (1777-1833) at the beginning of the 19th century, this research project (awarded by the cultural department of the city of Worms) aims to identify possible models for the "Bosphorus landscape”. It examines the extent to which real views of Constantinople / Istanbul may have served as inspiration for the image wallpaper created in Paris by Joseph Dufour (1752-1827).
The results are to be published.
Figurative reliefs in medieval Islamic architectural decoration
A further focus of research is the figurative reliefs in the medieval Islamic architectural decoration (Seljuks, Artuqids a.o.) and their meaning. The topic was extensively discussed in the PhD thesis (Heidelberg 1991) "Mittelalterliche Tierreliefs in Anatolien und Nordmesopotamien - Untersuchungen zum figürlichen Baudekor der Seldschuken, ... " (Tübingen 1996).
Read more: Figurative Architectural Decoration
Document Survey on Medieval Architecture (c. 400 - c. 1900) in North Iraq
On behalf of the Oriental Department of the DAI (German Archaeological Institute), Berlin, a document survey on medieval architecture in northern Iraq has been conducted.
Purpuse: creating an overview, which visual information about medieval buildings (c. 400 to c. 1900) exist before the destruction by the "Islamic State" (ISIS) in 2014
images (b/w, color, prints, negatives, slides in publications and in archives
plans & drawings
As an example, the photographs taken by the DAI, Baghdad department, in N-Iraq in the 1970s can be seen
Amadiya, North Iraq, base of the minaret of the Great Mosque (Ulu Cami), Foto: R.M. Böhmer