Chester Beatty Digital Collections

Chester Beatty Digital Collections gives access to part of remarkable treasures that are housed at Chester Beatty library In Ireland. This collection is a database of digitized artworks and manuscripts from different part of the world and includes Persian, Islamic, Turkish and Arabic collection.  These invaluable collections of manuscripts was gathered by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968) one of the greatest collector of the twentieth century and a friend to Ireland.

Opening folio from a Qur’an, illuminated by Muhammad ibn Aybak in Baghdad. This full-page illumination marks the beginning of a superb Qur’an volume produced in Baghdad. It is from a thirty-volume set, now dispersed in international collections or lost. Four of the known volumes contain the signature of the renowned illuminator Muhammad ibn Aybak ibn `Abdullah, who also recorded the date and that he was working “in the City of Peace, Baghdad”. From these inscriptions, Ibn Aybak’s work schedule becomes clear: he completed volume two in April 1303, ten in February 1305, and thirteen in October 1305, producing an illuminated volume approximately every three months. Folio from a Qur’an, colours and gold on paper, illuminated frontispiece panel with geometric design of central radiating star with quarter-stars repeated in the four corners, and hasp ornament on right margin, right half of a double-page composition, illumination by Muhammad ibn Aybak, opening folio from volume 25 of a 30-volume Qur’an (volume 25 codex is in Tehran Iran Bastan Museum, 3350),

Sir Alfred Chester Beatty was a young mining engineer in New York with huge interest in collecting European, Persian manuscripts, Chinese snuff bottles and Japanese netsuke. It was in 1914 and during a family trip to Egypt that the Islamic manuscript fascinated him so he expanded his collection to include rare books, richly illustrated material, fine bindings and calligraphy. Beatty’s exceptional collection developed over his life time, it comprises of remarkable Islamic, East Asian and biblical manuscripts, important Persian, Turkish, Armenian and Western European holdings as well as Burmese, Thai and Nepalese manuscripts, and is housed in the grounds of Dublin Castle.

Manuchihr pursuing his father’s murderer Tur, from the Book of Kings (Shahnama) by Firdausi

“The Chester Beatty Library is a public charitable trust established under the will of the late Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, who left his Collections in the care of a Trust for the benefit of the Irish people.”

The Beatty’s collection is a great resource for scholars and researchers as well as a cultural attraction for visitors from Ireland and from all around the world, part of which is available online through digital collection.

In 2017, the Chester Beatty started digitizing its collection with the help of digital photographers and a team of museum experts. Each item of this collection has a catalogue record and an informative description to the item. The digital collection is a searchable database; however, it is a growing database therefore it is useful to visit it from time to time.

Two horsemen aiming their lances, from Manual on the Arts of Horsemanship (Nihayat al-su’l wa al-umniya fi ta‘allum ‘amal al-furusiyya) by al-Aqsara’i

Historical Maps of the Middle East in Open Access

Today we are highliting three online resources making freely accessible historical maps of the Middle East: Palestine Open Maps, the Perry-Castañeda Library Map collection, and The Afternoon Map.

Palestine Open Maps is a platform making available and searchable historical maps from the British Mandate of Palestine period (1920-1948). Materials come from a number of institutions like the National Library of Israel, the National Library of Australia, the David Rumsey Map Collection. The platform includes a large collection of 1940s survey maps in the public domain “covering the territory at scales of up to 1:20,000. It also offers great search and overlay capabilities highlighting the human, natural, and urban geography transformations over the past century. Initiated in March 2018 by Vizualing Palestine and Columbia University Studio-X Amman, Palestine Open Maps is now maintained and developed by Vizualizing Palestine in collaboration with individuals. More information about the platform, the map collection or terms of use can be obtained here.

Screenshot of the Palestine Open Maps platform, July 24, 2019.

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map collection at the University of Texas at Austin includes  over 250,000 maps among which a number of historical maps of the Middle East. If only 20% of the overall maps collection has been digitized so far, the effort to make more content available online is continued. Published between 1849 and 1973, The Middle East maps collection cover the Arab World, Turkey and Iran from 500 B.C. to the 1970s. Materials are listed alphabetically by name of locality, and accompanied by a brief description. They can be opened, downloaded or saved in PDF format. More information about the collection or terms of use can be obtained here.

Aleppo [Alep] 1912. From Palestine and Syria… Handbook for Travellers by Karl Baedeker, 5th Edition, 1912.

The Afternoon Map is an Ottoman-Turkish-Middle Eastern-Balkans cartography blog launched and maintained by Dr. Nicholas Danforth, Senior Policy Analyst at Bipartisan Policy Center. The purpose of this academic blog is to publish “original, visually appealing and intellectually engaging maps harvested from archives and libraries around the world.” Maps are systematically introduced and put in historical context, and can easily be downloaded and saved. In addition to historical maps, the blog includes “Home Made Maps” covering a broad range of topics like earthquakes death, folk song, food, borders or trains. Last, The Afternoon Map also posts “Non Maps” (pictural materials like posters or caricatures), and “Articles” on a variety of topics authored by the blog’s owner. For more information about the maps or terms of use, or to contribute to the blog, contact the author.

Screenshot of The Afternoon Map blog, July 25, 2019.

Islamic Manuscripts Scientific Initiative

The  Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative (ISMI) is a collaborative project between researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (Germany) and McGill Institute of Islamic Studies in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) aiming at making available information on Islamic manuscripts in the exact sciences. As such it includes manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and other languages covering a broad range of topics like astronomy, mathematics, optics, mathematical geography, music, mechanics, etc.

Initiated in 1996, the project was over the years funded by numerous government agencies and private institutions. It is currently supported by the Canada Research Chair in the History of Science in Islamic Societies and Compute Canada.

The ISMI database gives access to authors, their works, and extant manuscript witnesses in the various fields of the sciences. links metadata with manuscripts images  When possible, digital images are made public. Designed to facilitate research on these materials, the database allows for great flexibility in cross-searching descriptive fields (author, title, place of production, dates, etc.). Alternatively, the database can be browsed by name, title, place of production but also repository, etc. Results always display as a list where items are clickable.

 When made public, scanned images display in a reader offering single page, double page or thumbnails view. Digital copies include photographs of the binding, flap, spine and page edges allowing for a better codicological understanding of the codex. “Unless otherwise noted all ISMI content can be used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license: CC-BY-SA.”

Any questions and/or feedback can be sent to ismi-feedback@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de.

Mizan

The Mizan project is dedicated to promoting and supporting public scholarship and research on Muslim societies with focus on topics that are important to Muslims across the globe. The project’s intent is to provide academic resources and insights to the “informed public” on subjects of contemporary relevance to the Islamic world, from an unbiased, fair and academic perspective.

The Mizan digital initiative attempts to connect emerging Islamic global civilizations, histories, texts and cultural expressions of Muslim identities with a contemporary audience. In doing so, Mizan connects the past and the future by featuring visual culture, law, classical literature and dialogues with the popular culture of modern Muslim societies. Various Mizan projects explore the history of Muslim societies and Islamic cultures while seeking to remain neutral, that is, with no preference for any sectarian perspective or to any particular orthodoxy or orthopraxy.

Part of this project’s mission is to provide an open access, bi-annual journal featuring scholarly and peer reviewed articles, called the “Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations”. This journal sheds light on various aspects of the Islamic world in a thematic fashion and with its first issue in 2016.

Moreover, short features are published every two weeks on the Mizan project’s website targeting more diverse audiences from the public to scholars and researchers in various fields of Islamic Studies. Stories and various aspects of popular culture in the Islamic World are explored in the Pop section of the site covering Video & Film, Graphic Arts, Music and performances and Politics, Fashion & Identity.

The Mizan project is able to provide full and free access to all its publications due to the support of the ILEX Foundation. An interactive platform offers public engagement via a dynamic annotation tool from which to record comments or questions.

Islamic Philosophy Online PHILOSOPHIA ISLAMICA

Islamic philosophy is an online resource dedicated to the study of Islamic Philosophy from Abbasid period to the present.

The website was started in July 2001 and contains hundreds of full-length books and articles on Islamic philosophy, ranging from the classical texts to modern works of Muslim philosophy. Materials are available in Arabic, English, French, German and Latin.

There are various areas to explore the website

  • Articles:  available either in PDF format or as a link
  • General: philosophy resources in PDF format or as a link
  • New publications
  • Philosophers:  a comprehensive list and resources of philosophers who contributed to Islamic philosophy (In chronological order)
  • Utilities: includes citation guide, online encyclopedias with articles on Islamic philosophy, date converter and local time

There is a separate sites for the following philosophers

Al-GhazaliIbn Sina, Ibn RushdIbn Taymiyahal-Kindial-FarabiMuhammad Iqbal.

The site was also a home to the Journal of Islamic Philosophy. This is the first journal born online dedicated to the study of Islamic Philosophy. For more information see the Journal’s page.

 

 

 

 

 

The site is also a home to site for Prof. Mashhad al-Allaf.

Online exhibition: “If Walls Could Speak: The History of Morrice Hall”

After displaying a physical and touch table exhibitions in the Winter of 2018, the Islamic Studies Library is pleased to launch the online version of If Walls Could Speak: The History of Morrice Hall. Accessible from the main page of our blog (see capture below), this online exhibition retraces the history of  Morrice Hall currently home to McGill’s Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS), Islamic Studies Library (ISL), and Tuesday Night Café Theatre (TNC).

Using a mix of drawings, photographs, plans and maps, publications, and video, this online exhibition takes you through the history of the building since its construction in 1882: from Presbyterian College, to war hospital, to offices for the International Labour Organization during WWII, to a house for McGill University departments.

The original display was curated by y Ghazaleh Ghanavizchian (Senior Library Clerk, ISL), Jillian Mills (Senior Library Clerk, ISL) and Anaïs Salamon (Head Librarian, ISL) with the help of Gregory Houston (New Media & Digitization Administrator, Digital Initiatives) for the creation of the Touch Table exhibit.

This online version is the result of a School of Information Studies practicum student -Gabriela Cestero-‘s work in the Winter 2019, with the support of Ekaterina Grguric (User Experience and Digital Technologies Librarian, Digital Initiatives) and Gregory Houston (New Media & Digitization Administrator, Digital Initiatives).

Full page screenshot of the “Foundation” page, 2019.

Special thanks go to the McCord Museum, the Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives, and Library and Archives Canada for allowing us to publish photographs from their collections. Please note that copyright rests with them, and that any download or reproduction remains subject to their approval.

“Rusted Radishes: Beirut literary and art journal”

Beirut literary and art journal “Rusted Radishes”  founded in 2012, and is housed in the American University of Beirut’s English Department. RR is aiming to create a space for writers whether stablished or emerging with a connection to Lebanon. In the past seven years since it was born, RR has published “diverse work from local artists and writers, bordering countries, the diaspora, and beyond”. This journal is an interdisciplinary work, which is edited and designed by a staff of faculty, students, and alum from both the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Department of Architecture and Design.

As the journal evolved, it extended its submissions to writers, artist, poets, etc. from Middle East and North Africa, with the hope to connect beyond the geographical borders. Rusted Radishes published work from Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, local translations of Norwegian, French, and Syrian writers. However, Beirut’s culture, history and influence remained always the principal factor at the center of this diverse unity.

“You will find elements of the natural world on the pages of this issue: cats, horses, stone, redwoods, birds, woodpeckers, ladybugs, the sea, whales, plants, and planets. They are interwoven between themes of belonging, illness, memory, gender, exile, lust, relationships. They criss-cross into each other fluidly, seamlessly, past the expected. Art, like nature, does what it wants.”

 

This journal presents various types of literary and art works including poetry, drama, prose, translations, artwork, comics and interviews. Although Rusted Radishes is a print journal but gives access to their recent issues.

Rusted Radishes can be find on social media via: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond عشق و صميميت

Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond is an online exhibit that celebrates the beauty of Persian manuscripts and the stories of human and divine love told through their pages from the early 11th century on.

Love and devotion showcases a rich selection of manuscripts from the world-renowned collection of the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, along with rare works from the State Library of Victoria and other Australian collections.

The exhibit is divided into four main topics: Persian poets, Stories and poems, Persia’s cultural sphere, and European interactions.

  • Persian poets includes the life and the work of significant poets like Nizami, Attar, Firdausi, Hafiz, Jami and many more.
  • Stories and poems retells epic stories and masterpieces that have been told over the centuries in the Persian world.
  • Persia’s cultural sphere explains how Persia’s strong culture of poetry and the book arts was adopted by Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India.
  • European interactions discovesr how Persian poetry intersected with European culture.

Multimedia section includes audio recordings of Persian poetry readings and video recordings of past conferences that address the theme of Love and devotion.

 

 

 

 

Education provides curriculum- based guides for exploring Persian stories and culture in the classroom., in addition to activities and resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional features are available, such as interactive map, image gallery, how to read a manuscript and glossary.

 

Persian Culture Workshops at the Redpath Museum in May & June 2019

Located on the McGill campus, the Redpath Museum is an academic unit of the University. “Its mandate is to foster understanding and appreciation of the diversity of our biological, geological, and cultural heritage through scientific research, collections-based study, and education.”

As part of its Spring programming, the Redpath Museum will be hosting two series of  Persian Culture Workshops in English designed respectively for children ages 7-9 and ages 10-12. The workshops, offered by Dr. Farshid Sadatsharifi, visiting scholar at the McGill Institute of Islamic Studies, and Mrs. Ghazaleh Ghanavizchian, Senior Library Clerk at the Islamic Studies Library of McGill University will explore “the historical events, the colorful medieval paintings and the beautiful collection of poems kept within the pages of the Persian Epic of Kings.”

The full programming is as follow:

  • May 5th: The Persian Epic of Kings – Part 1 (ages 7-9)
  • May 12th: The Persian Epic of Kings – Part 2 (ages 7-9)
  • June 1st: The Persian Epic of Kings – Part 1 (ages 10-12)
  • June 15th: The Persian Epic of Kings – Part 2 (ages 10-12)

Please note that as space is limited, registration is required and will close a few days before the workshops.

Facebook users may follow the series there: The Persian Epic of Kings for Children ages 7 to 9 and The Persian Epic of Kings for Children ages 10 to 12.

To go further, the Islamic Studies Library collection includes a significants number of miniatures and manuscripts copies of the book Shahnameh – Epic of Kings. Some of them are accessible online in the Shahnameh by Ferdowsi digital exhibition:

For more information about Persian culture, you may visit the Islamic Studies Library of McGill University.

Hazine blog

Hazine is a guide to finding information and resources for research purposes about Middle East and the Islamic world at large.

“In the Ottoman Empire, the hazine was the treasury, a storehouse in which courtiers found books to read, scribes deposited documents, and clerks stowed away precious objects that arrived from around the empire.”

Hazine as a storehouse of information, provides information about research resources, research centers, archives and libraries from all around the world for scholars who are researching the Middle East and the Islamic countries. Taking into consideration the numerous archives, libraries, research centers and publications, which are spread out all across the globe, it may not be easy for researchers knowing where to start their research. Therefore, Hazine hopes “researchers will use HAZİNE to acquaint themselves with these collections, large and small, and jump directly into the research.”

Hazine at the moment highlightes more resources and centres containing materials and information resources about Ottoman Empire, for example The National Archives of Japan was introduced as a valuable resource for scholars interested in Japan’s relationships with and growing interest in the Middle East and Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Detail of the Ottoman Ahdname of 1050/1641 (n. 1470, Miscellenea documenti turchi).

Moreover, it lists online archives like: The Venetian State Archives, that made available an important collection of Ottoman documents; Tahrir Documents which is a collection of pamphlets, newsletters, signs, poems, and other texts gathered in and around Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, between March 2011 and May 2012; the last mentioned online archive is Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran, a digital archive of materials related to the social and cultural history of Iran during the Qajar period.

Two women in European dress from the Olga Davidson Collection

 

Furthermore, this guide provides a list of related archives and libraries according to their geographical location, that can be accessed here Archives and Libraries.

 

 

 

Hazine can be find on social media via : Twitter Facebook