The 2010 Aspects of Art Lecture formed part of the British Academy’s ‘Medieval Week’, hosted by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Professor Robert Hillenbrand FBA discussed an extraordinary medieval manuscript held in Edinburgh University Library.
The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.
Published in British Academy Review, No. 17 (March 2011).
Aspects of Art Lecture, delivered by Professor Robert Hillenbrand FBA FRSE, 18 November 2010 (venue: Royal Society of Edinburgh), as part of the British Academy's ‘Medieval Week’. The fragmentary copy of Rashid al-Din’s World History held in the University of Edinburgh’s Library is of extreme rarity, huge size, lavish illustration and very early date (1314). It is perhaps the world’s most valuable illustrated Islamic manuscript. This lecture will explore its art-historical significance, highlighting its multiracial and multi-confessional flavour, with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and shamanistic elements that aptly reflect the largest continuous land empire in world history. The manuscript’s pictorial and textual cycles of Biblical figures, the Prophet Muhammad and the mythical past of Greece, Arabia and Iran break new ground, while its propagandist intent finds expression in courtly and battle scenes galore.
On 10 November 2010, the British Academy’s International Engagement Day considered
‘The Role of Area Studies in Higher Education’. Liz Lightfoot gives a flavour of the discussion.
The publication of the ‘Cheshire and Lancashire’ volume of the British Academy’s ‘Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture’ brings this important series closer to completion. The Corpus has significantly increased the number of known Anglo-Saxon monuments. The General Editor, Professor Rosemary Cramp FBA, explains how the Corpus volumes have encouraged debate and set in motion new ways of assessing these sculptures. Then Professor Richard N. Bailey explains the significance of one particular stone – the Bidston hogback – featured in his ‘Cheshire and Lancashire’ volume.