Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Persian Miniatures, Iranian Protests & Other News


I have been tracking events in Iran like many around the world, inspired by the protesters and worried by what appears to be an increasingly thuggish response by the regime to being caught in a clumsy move to manipulate–determine?–election results. I know precious little about the Persian tradition in illumination, but when in the presence of such objects I have always been moved by their grace and aesthetic power. At the top of this post, the Presentation of the City from Mi'raj-nama (Ascension of Muhammad), from the Sarai Albums at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul. The work was produced by the School of Tabriz at the beginning of the 14th century. I got this image from a site for an art history course at Bilkent University in Istanbul (a city I have always wanted to visit). I would have credited the professor, but I failed to figure out who was teaching the course. My bad.

Reports suggest that two people have been killed at Tabriz Engineering University. I have been moved by events in Iran in the broadest sense. But I have also found myself thinking about my own students and my own university, imagining what it would be like to see nationalist thugs on motorbikes ripping through our facilities, attacking our students! My thoughts and prayers are with the protesters in Iran.

In other news: I expect to post a little less frequently this summer, in large part because I am forcing myself to buckle down and do longer format writing for a book project addressing under-considered topics in modern graphic history. I'm making progress. Unfortunately, the focus required to do such writing leaves less time and brain space to do the sustained riffing that blogging entails. I am hopeful that the investment will pay off, and I entreat GT readers' patience. I'll try to post informally on this and that, just to keep things freshened up a bit. But there won't be much heaving lifting this summer...

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