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James W. Allan

Contact Type Writers & Researchers
Category Literatures
Telephone 0044 01865 278490

James Allan read his degree in classical Arabic at Oxford, and spent most of his career in the Ashmolean Museum as curator of the Islamic collections and latterly Keeper of Eastern Art. He also set up an Inter-faith Exhibition Service. For the last 6 years before his retirement in 2012 he continued to teach Islamic art in the Khalili Research Centre. He leads tours in the Middle East, and has published numerous articles and books on Islamic art, his most recent book being, “The art and architecture of Twelver Shi’ism: Iraq, Iran and the Indian Subcontinent”.

Main Areas of Research:

Recent Publications:

1. The Art and Architecture of Twelver Shi'ism: Iraq, Iran and the Indian Sub-Continent. Biennial Ehsan Yarshater Lecture Series, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (January 11–16, 2007), Azimuth Editions, London, 2012.

2. Metalwork, chapter in G.F.Bass and F.H.van Doorninck, Sirce Limani: an eleventh-century Islamic shipwreck, (Texas A&M University Press, 2005)

3. Early Safavid Metalwork, chapter 8 in ed. J.Thompson and S.R.Canby, Hunt for Paradise. Court Arts of Safavid Iran 1501-1576 (Milan and New York 2003) pp.203-240

4. Metalwork, in The Future of the Past. Robert Mouawad Private Museum, Beirut 2005, pp.40-75

5. "My Father is a Sun, and I am the Star": Fatimid Symbols in Ayyubid and Mamluk Metalwork, Journal of the David Collection, volume 1 (Copenhagen 2003), pp.25-47

6. (with Brian Gilmour) Persian Steel. The Tanavoli Collection, Oxford Studies in Islamic Art vol.XV (Oxford 2000).

7. Persian Steel: The Tanavoli Collection (Tehran 2003)

Selected Bibliography

1. Persian Metal Technology 700-1300 A.D. Oriental Institute Monographs no.2 (Oxford 1979).

2. Islamic Metalwork: the Nuhad Es-Said Collection (London 1982)

3. Nishapur: Metalwork of the Early Islamic Period, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York 1982)

4. Metalwork of the Islamic World: the Aron Collection (London 1986)

5. Islamic Ceramics, Ashmolean Museum (Oxford 1991)

6. Metalwork Treasures from the Islamic Courts, Museum of Islamic Art (Doha 2002)

7. K.A.C.Creswell, A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, revised and supplemented by J.W.Allan (Scolar Press 1989)

8. (with Brian Gilmour) Persian Steel. The Tanavoli Collection, Oxford Studies in Islamic Art vol.XV (Oxford 2000)

9. The influence of the metalwork of the Arab Mediterranean on that of medieval Europe, in ed. D.A.Agius and R.Hitchcock, The Arab influence in medieval Europe (Reading 1994), pp.44-62

10. The transmission of decorated ceilings in the early Islamic world, in ed. W.D.Hackmann & A.J.Turner, Learning, Language and Invention, Essays presented to Francis Maddison (Aldershot 1994) pp.1-31