Woodstocker Books


Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural

Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural


Francesca Leoni, with essays by Pierre Lory and Christiane Gruber, and contributions by Venetia Porter and Farouk Yahya
ISBN: 9781910807095

Size: 8.75 in x 11 in
Pages: 120
Illustrations: 156 color
Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural is a ground-breaking investigation of divinatory arts in the Islamic world discussing their impact on, and expression through, material culture. This part of the Islamic tradition has hitherto received limited attention, leaving a fascinating and rich chapter of Islam's cultural production largely unexplored.

Essays by three leading experts contextualize over 100 extraordinary objects produced between the 12th and 20th twentieth centuries --- including personal ornaments, weaponry, textiles, miniature books, and scrolls. They demonstrates the currency of astrology, geomancy, bibliomancy, dream interpretation, and the science of divination through letters at all levels of society. Insights gleaned from historical sources unveil and chart the animated debates surrounding divinatory 'sciences,' reflecting changing attitudes towards these practices over the centuries. (The cover of the book, the jewel-encrusted Hand of Fatima, was one way people sough to protect themselves.)

Thoroughly researched and richly illustrated, Power and Protection offers a stimulating and accessible introduction to this topic for the general reader as well as a fresh and well-balanced account for the specialist.

1. Introduction
2. Divination and religion in Islamic medieval culture (Pierre Lory)
3. From Prayer to Protection: Amulets and Talismans in the Islamic World (Christiane Gruber)
4. Sacred Words, Sacred Powers: Qur'anic and Pious Phrases as Sources of Healing and Protection (Francesca Leoni)
5. 9 extended catalogue entries and a fully illustrated checklist of 115 objects in the exhibition
6. Glossary
7. Bibliography

The author, Dr. Francesca Leon,i is the Yousef Jameel Curator of Islamic Art at the Ashmolean Museum and a Research Associate at the Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford.

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