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Archive for the ‘Subject Guides’ Category

Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid), Iran, Sculpture, bull head, 6th-5th century BC. Image and original data provided by Bryn Mawr College. Image © Bryn Mawr College

Extending from Morocco and North Africa to Turkey and Iran, the Middle East is interesting and complex economically, socially, politically, and culturally. The ARTstor Digital Library offers many collections that document the rich history of the region that gave birth to the world’s earliest civilizations and major religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Islamic, Qur'an stand, 1360. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Explore these collections which focus mainly or exclusively on the Middle East and jointly feature approximately 100,000 related images: Islamic Art and Architecture Collection (Sheila Blair, Jonathan Bloom, Walter Denny): digital images of the art and architecture of Islam from the personal archives of a team of leading scholar photographers; Mellink Archive (Bryn Mawr College): archaeological excavations of ancient sites in Turkey and the Near East; Shangri La, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art: Syrian and Persian furniture, doors, and ceilings; Persian and Turkish tile panels and portable ceramics; and Central Asian, Persian, and Turkish textiles; Pattern in Islamic Art from David Wade: images illustrating patterns and design features found throughout the Islamic world; Barbara Anello: Photographs of Southeast Asia and Morocco: images of Morocco’s traditional earthen architecture in Ait Ben Haddou and Skoura, and the ancient Roman ruins in Volubilis; James Conlon: Mali and Yemen sites and architecture: includes contemporary photographs depicting architecture and cultural sites and objects in Tarim and many other cities, monuments, and sites in Yemen’s Hadramaut Valley; Dura Europos and Gerasa Archives (Yale): images of papyri, artifacts, and structures unearthed during the excavations of the ancient sites of Dura-Europos in Syria and Gerasa (modern Jerash) in Jordan, along with historical documentation of the expeditions; Egyptian and other Ancient Art (Arielle Kozloff Brodkey): images of the art, architecture, and archaeology of ancient Egypt, with special strengths in Theban tombs; Giza Archaeological Expedition Archive (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston): visual documentation of the Giza pyramids, workers at dig sites, interiors of excavated monuments, objects, and human remains in their original find spots, individual finds and artifacts, and Egyptians in modern-day Giza and Cairo; Plans of Ancient and Medieval Buildings and Archaeological Sites (Bryn Mawr College): site plans for key ancient and medieval architectural monuments and archeological sites relating to the Classical and Ancient Near East; and Sites and Photos: broad and in-depth documentation of the ancient world, including Classical, Megalithic, Islamic, Crusader, and Gothic archaeology and architecture, with a focus on religious and Biblical sites.

Abdullah Freres, Mosquée de Kaid Bey, 1850s - 1890. This image and data was provided by The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

In addition, there are dozens of collections that feature images related to the Middle East in their wide-ranging content, such as Magnum Photos, which covers events like the establishment of Israel as an independent state, the Iranian Revolution, and the Iraq War, and George Eastman House, which features 19th century travel and landscape photography of the Middle East by photographers such as Abdullah Frères and Félix Bonfils. You can find tens of thousands further images by browsing by individual country: Choose Browse > Geography > and then pick the Middle Eastern country you are researching. You can choose a Classification to further narrow your results.

For teaching ideas, see our Sample Topic on Middle Eastern Studies. To view all our Sample Topics, visit the Digital Library and click on “Featured Groups.” Also, read Colette Appelian’s 2011 Travel Award-winning essay, “Online Teaching and Architectural Solutions to Climate Problems in the Islamic World.” For more interdisciplinary ideas, download ARTstor’s Subject Guides.

Tapestry Square with the Head of Spring, Egyptian , 4th–5th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Hindu temple at Pandrethan, south side of temple, Ca. eighth to ninth century, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The John C. and Susan L. Huntington Archive of Buddhist and Related Art, The Ohio State University

Hindu temple at Pandrethan, south side of temple, Ca. eighth to ninth century, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The John C. and Susan L. Huntington Archive of Buddhist and Related Art, The Ohio State University

Did you know ARTstor is an excellent resource for Asian Studies? The ARTstor Digital Library shares several collections that document Asian cultures, history, religion, architecture, and art.

Magnum Photos offers thousands of documentary images from Asia, beginning from the post-war period to the present, covering everything from Mahatma Ghandi’s India to the Japanese city of Obama as they capitalize on the 2008 American presidential elections. You can find a wide range of Japanese gowns, from 19th century dressing gowns to contemporary dresses by Yohji Yamamoto, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Brooklyn Museum Costumes. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also has scores of images encompasing household utensils such as needles, bowls, and saddles to ceremonial objects, armors, and costumes from all regions of Asia. Two other remarkable resources of Asian history are Southeast Asia Visions: John M. Echols Collection (Cornell University Library), which features European and American travel accounts of pre-modern Southeast Asia, and the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery (St. Lawrence University), which includes Vietnam War-era photography by American soldiers.

Temple scene, T'ongdo-sa, South Kyongsang Province, South Korea, Photographer: Carl Strom. Image and original data provided by Carl and Jennifer Strom

Temple scene, T'ongdo-sa, South Kyongsang Province, South Korea, Photographer: Carl Strom. Image and original data provided by Carl and Jennifer Strom

A number of collections offer field photography of architecture throughout Asia, such as: Alka Patel: South Asian and Cuban Art and Architecture (Islamic art and architecture from 12th to the 18th centuries in India and Pakistan); Huntington Archive of Asian Art (photographs of Asian art and architecture); American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) Collection (University of Michigan) (Southern Asian art and architecture); and Barbara Anello: Photographs of Southeast Asia and Morocco.

Collections that focus on important religious sites and architecture throughout Asia include: the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive (Buddhist cave shrines in Dunhuang, China); Shuilu’an Temple (Northwestern University) (Buddhist sculpture at Shuilu’an Temple in Lantian, China); Deepanjana Danda Klein and Arno Klein: Cave Temples at Ellora, India (Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain cave shrines in Ellora, India); Beyond the Taj: Architectural Traditions and Landscape Experience in South Asia (Cornell University Library); and Carl Strom and Jennifer Strom: Korean Buddhist Monasteries (Buddhist temple and monastery art in South Korea). For the Dunhuang caves and Shuilu-an Temple, ARTstor offers scholars and students unique visual documentation of the sites with high resolution digital photography and QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas.

EIZAN (Yeiseu?), Japanese, Two Women Writing c.1850. Asian Art Collection (Connecticut College, New London)

EIZAN (Yeiseu?), Japanese, Two Women Writing c.1850. Asian Art Collection (Connecticut College, New London)

And of course, Asian art is well represented in the Digital Library. Some notable examples include: Rob Linrothe: Tibetan and Buddhist Art collection; Seattle Art Museum (Asian art, including works from Japan, China, Korea, India, the Himalayas, and Southeast Asia); Asian Art Collection (Connecticut College) (Chinese and Japanese art); Asian Art Photographic Distribution (AAPD) (University of Michigan) (Chinese painting, sculpture, and decorative arts and Japanese painting and prints); The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Chinese ceramics);  and Yao Ceremonial Artifacts (Ohio University).

ARTstor has also assembled 100 eclectic, iconic, and provocative images for our Sample Topic on Asian Art. To view all our Sample Topics, visit the Digital Library and click on “Featured Groups.” For more interdisciplinary ideas, download ARTstor’s Subject Guides.

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