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POSTPONED: Understanding text and stone: A history of Christian symbols in Mamluk architecture

Tuesday 5 December 2017, 6.30PM

Speaker(s): Dr Sami de Giosa, University of Oxford







During this talk Sami will analyse the case of Christian spolia and symbols, in Mamluk architecture, with cases ranging from utilitarian, esoteric, and commemoration of Christian individuals.

Sami is the current Barakat Fellow at the Khalili research centre (University of Oxford), previously working at the British Museum as a project curator. Sami completed his PhD  in Islamic art at SOAS, with a thesis on the revival of art and architecture in Cairo, under Sultan Qaytbay in the late Mamluk period.


Use this link to register for your free ticket

Location: Bowland auditorium, Berrick Saul Building

Admission: is by free ticket only. Please use the eventbrite link above

Reconstructing the Medieval Islamic Rock Crystal ‘Industry’

Thursday 16 November 2017, 6.30PM to 8pm

Speaker(s): Professor Jeremy Johns (University of Oxford)

Vessels carved from solid rock crystal are amongst the most celebrated objects made under the ╩┐Abbasid and Fatimid caliphs in the 9th to 11th centuries. Very few survive in the contemporary Muslim world, and most entered European church treasuries during the Middle Ages as reliquaries and as sacred vessels for the Mass. As a result, far more is known of their history and symbolism as Christian-ised objects, than of the “industry” that produced them before they came to Europe — the origins of the raw crystal, the locations of the workshops in which they were produced, the tools and techniques used to carve a material that is harder than any metal, the organisation of the market, and the use and consumption of, and changing fashion for, rock crystal objects in the Islamic world. This beautifully illustrated talk presents the preliminary results of a project to investigate such questions, directed by Jeremy Johns and Elise Morero at the Khalili Research Centre in the University of Oxford.
About the Speaker: Professor Jeremy Johns is the director of the Khalili Research Centre, at the University of Oxford, and Professor of the Art & Archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean. His research includes relations between Muslim and Christian societies, in the medieval Mediterranean, as manifested in material and visual culture. His research has focused upon the archaeology of the transition from late antiquity to early Islam in the Levant and, especially, upon the archaeology, history, and art history of Sicily under Islamic and Norman rule, from the Muslim conquest of the island in the ninth century, to the destruction of the Islamic community of Sicily, by Frederick II in the thirteenth century.‌

Location: The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building

Admission: Please register via the eventbrite link provided

The Arts of Pilgrimage

Tuesday 24 October 2017, 6.30PM to 8pm

Speaker(s): Qaisra Khan (Independent curator)

‌Since the 7th century Muslims around the world have been performing Hajj - the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. During this time and up to the current day, there has been a huge artistic legacy which has developed around the rituals and the sacred sites, with each object uniquely commemorating this journey and its spiritual endeavour.

This lecture will explore the journey to Mecca and the performance of Hajj, focusing on the skill and creativity of the artists, craftspeople and pilgrims who have all been inspired by this great pilgrimage. 


About the Speaker: Qaisra began her studies with a degree in Law and an MPhil in Oriental Studies both from Cambridge University. Her most important role came with the groundbreaking "Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam" exhibition at the British Museum in 2012; where, as Project Curator, she worked in the development and delivery of the exhibition. Currently she is an Independent Curator at the Nasser.D.Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, working on a multi-volume publication entitled “Hajj and The Arts of Pilgrimage” which will focus on the Khalili Arts of Pilgrimage Collection, one of largest and the most important of its kind.

Location: The Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building