Some research projects are presented here, linked to images from the image archive. Various related publications are accessible on academia.edu.
Lang term research projects
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 first 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
Islamic Art Historians
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.
See "Tabrizi Woodcarvings in Timurid Iran" accesible on Academia.
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).
For their interpretation see synoptical: Joachim Gierlichs, "A victory monument in the name of Sultan Malik Shah in Diyarbakir – Medieval figural reliefs used for political propaganda ?", in: Islamic Art (eds. E. J. Grube - E. Sims), vol. 6, 2009, 51-79. To the Article on academia.edu.
Current research projects
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.