Publication - Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local

Cecily Pollard's picture
Announcements Administration
Subject Fields: 
Islamic History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies

Histories of Ornament:

From Global to Local

Edited by Gülru Necipoğlu & Alina Payne

Hardcover | 2016 | $60.00 | £41.95 | ISBN: 9780691167282 | 464 pp. | 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 | 206 color illus | 25 halftones

This lavishly illustrated volume is the first major global history of ornament from the Middle Ages to today. Crossing historical and geographical boundaries in unprecedented ways and considering the role of ornament in both art and architecture, Histories of Ornament offers a nuanced examination that integrates medieval, Renaissance, baroque, and modern Euroamerican traditions with their Islamic, Indian, Chinese, and Mesoamerican counterparts. At a time when ornament has re-emerged in architectural practice and is a topic of growing interest to art and architectural historians, the book reveals how the long history of ornament illuminates its global resurgence today.

Organized by thematic sections on the significance, influence, and role of ornament, the book addresses ornament's current revival in architecture, its historiography and theories, its transcontinental mobility in medieval and early modern Europe and the Middle East, and its place in the context of industrialization and modernism. Throughout, Histories of Ornament emphasizes the portability and politics of ornament, figuration versus abstraction, cross-cultural dialogues, and the constant negotiation of local and global traditions.

Featuring original essays by more than two dozen scholars from around the world, this authoritative and wide-ranging book provides an indispensable reference on the histories of ornament in a global context.

Contributors include: Michele Bacci (Fribourg University); Anna Contadini (University of London); Thomas B. F. Cummins (Harvard); Chanchal Dadlani (Wake Forest); Daniela del Pesco (Universita degli Studi Roma Tre); Vittoria Di Palma (USC); Anne Dunlop (University of Melbourne); Marzia Faietti (University of Bologna); María Judith Feliciano (independent scholar); Finbarr Barry Flood (NYU); Jonathan Hay (NYU); Christopher P. Heuer (Clark Art); Rémi Labrusse (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense); Gülru Necipoğlu (Harvard); Marco Rosario Nobile (University of Palermo); Oya Pancaroğlu (Bosphorus University); Spyros Papapetros (Princeton); Alina Payne (Harvard); Antoine Picon (Harvard); David Pullins (Harvard); Jennifer L. Roberts (Harvard); David J. Roxburgh (Harvard); Hashim Sarkis (MIT); Robin Schuldenfrei (Courtauld); Avinoam Shalem (Columbia); and Gerhard Wolf (KHI, Florence).

Gülru Necipoglu is the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art and director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. She is the author of The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton) and The Topkapi Scroll: Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture. Alina Payne is the Alexander P. Misheff Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University and Paul E. Geier Director of Villa I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence. She is the author of The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance and From Ornament to Object: Genealogies of Architectural Modernism.


Introduction: Gülru Necipoglu and Alina Payne

Part I Contemporaneity of Ornament in Architecture                         

Chapter 1: Ornament and Its Users: From the Vitruvian Tradition to the Digital Age. Antoine Picon

Chapter 2: A Natural History of Ornament. Vittoria Di Palma

Chapter 3: Inscription: On the Surface of Exchange between Writing, Ornament, and Tectonic in Contemporary Architecture. Hashim Sarkis

Part II Ornament between Historiography and Theory

Chapter 4: Ornament as Weapon: Ballistics, Politics, and Architectural Adornment in Semper's Treatise on Ancient Projectiles. Spyros Papapetros

Chapter 5: The Passage of the Other: Elements for a Redefinition of Ornament. Jonathan Hay

Chapter 6: The Invention of Mudejar Art and the Viceregal Aesthetic Paradox: Notes on the Reception of Iberian Ornament in New Spain. María Judith Feliciano

Chapter 7: The Flaw in the Carpet: Disjunctive Continuities and Riegl's Arabesque. Finbarr Barry Flood

Part III Medieval Mediations

Chapter 8: Vesting Walls, Displaying Structure, Crossing Cultures: Transmedial and Transmaterial Dynamics of Ornament. Gerhard Wolf

Chapter 9: Gothic-Framed Byzantine Icons: Italianate Ornament in the Levant during the Late Middle Ages. Michele Bacci

Chapter 10: Timurid Architectural Revetment in Central Asia, 1370-1430: The Mimeticism of Mosaic Faience. David J. Roxburgh

Part IV Early Modern Crosscurrents

Chapter 11: Early Modern Floral: The Agency of Ornament in Ottoman and Safavid Visual Cultures. Gülru Necipoglu

Chapter 12: Ornamental Defacement and Protestant Iconoclasm. Christopher P. Heuer

Chapter 13: Migration of Techniques: Inlaid Marble Floral Decoration in Baroque Naples. Daniela del Pesco

Chapter 14: Innovation, Appropriation, and Representation: Mughal Architectural Ornament in the Eighteenth Century. Chanchal Dadlani

Part V Ornament between Figuration and Abstraction

Chapter 15: Ornament, Form, and Vision in Ceramics from Medieval Iran: Reflections of the Human Image. Oya Pancaroglu

Chapter 16: Variety and Metamorphosis: Form and Meaning in the Ornament of Amico Aspertini. Marzia Faietti

Chapter 17: Images as Objects: The Problem of Figural Ornament in Eighteenth-Century France. David Pullins

Chapter 18: Ornament and Vice: The Foreign, the Mobile, and the Cocharelli Fragments. Anne Dunlop

Chapter 19: Gilded Bodies and Brilliant Walls: Ornament in America before and after the European Conquest. Thomas B. F. Cummins

Part VI Circulations and Translations of Ornament

Chapter 20: The Poetics of Portability. Avinoam Shalem

Chapter 21: "This Is Babel": Sicily, the Mediterranean Islands, and Southern Italy (1450-1550). Marco Rosario Nobile

Chapter 22: Wrapped in Fabric: Florentine Façades, Mediterranean Textiles, and A-Tectonic Ornament in the Renaissance. Alina Payne

Chapter 23: Threads of Ornament in the Style World of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Anna Contadini

Part VII Internationalism of Ornament and Modernist Abstraction

Chapter 24: The Currency of Ornament: Machine-Lathed Anticounterfeiting Patterns and the Portability of Value. Jennifer L. Roberts

Chapter 25: Grammars of Ornament: Dematerialization and Embodiment from Owen Jones to Paul Klee. Rémi Labrusse

Chapter 26: Sober Ornament: Materiality and Luxury in German Modern Architecture and Design. Robin Schuldenfrei



Contact Info: 

Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture

Harvard University

Sackler 412

485 Broadway

Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

Tel 617-495-2355

Contact Email: