Tanja Tolar is currently a PhD candidate at the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS. Her thesis is entitled Islamic enamelled glass and its connections with Byzantium and Venice. She holds Master degrees in Medieval Studies from Central European University in Budapest and History of Art at SOAS. Her main research interest is pre-modern Mediterranean art with a special focus on the interrelationship between the European and the Islamic medieval art objects and their iconography. She has recently completed an internship at the Courtauld Gallery where she has researched Spanish lustreware from 16th century Manises.
|Image copyright - Museum of Islamic Art, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin|
In summary of her talk, Tanja says:
The beautiful and colourful painterly technique of Islamic enamelling on glass has been for decades in the focus of glass research, yet many questions relating to its origin and production persist. Traditionally linked to Syria and Egypt, dated to Ayyubid and Mamluk patronage the large corpus of glass objects and numerous fragments has no strict chronology. Until recently, when the well known gilded bottle in the British Museum was connected to the famous blue glass bottles of Byzantine production, the involvement of Byzantium in enamelled and gilded glass production has been difficult to trace. The technique of iconographic details painted and scratched on the surface is an element that seemingly connects Islamic and Byzantine glass production of the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Seljuk art after the Constintinople’s collapse of 1204 brings into play a new visual world with typical Islamic iconographic motifs (dancers, musicians and different animals) on glass, while Italian mercantile activities foster dissemination of luxury glass objects across the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond.
This paper will look into early 13th century economy in the Eastern Mediterranean, pose questions of historical relations and political rivalry between Constantinople and its neighbouring countries, as well as delve into trade relations between Byzantium, the Seljuk sultanate and the Italian city states. The Venetian-Seljuk treaty of 1220 had implications on trade relations between the two political entities and questions of how such mercantile business might have influenced a development of glass production in the region will be addressed. The focus will be on blue glass bottles, attributed to Byzantine glass production and decorated with gilding and enamelling that can be linked to the earliest Islamic enamelled and gilded objects and fragments. These depict iconographical motifs and historical narratives, and their close connections with contemporary objects in other media, most significantly ceramics and metal, will be discussed.
|Image Copyright: © Christie's Images Limited (1990)|
Summarizing his talk 'Being a Sultan in Style: Calligraphy and Decoration in the Arts of the Late Mamluk Period' he says:
The lectures will start at 6.30pm and will be followed by a question and answer session and a drinks session. The event is free and all are welcome. For directions to the society please visit our website or for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 02073884539.The Mamluk Sultan Qaytbay (r. 1468-96) was instrumental in the revitalization of art and architecture in the late Mamluk period. Three crafts, metalwork, manuscript illumination, and carpet weaving, display a depth in artistic creation comparable to that of the Golden Age of Mamluk art which happened more than 100 years before Qaytbay. This paper is focused on two decorative features on metalwork described by Melikian-Chervani as hallmarks of the period: pincer-topped engraved inscriptions and three-petal fleuron. Moreover, their development and revival under Qaytbay will be discussed.