Byzantium and Islam Age of Transition Helen C. Evans, Brandie Ratliff

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Publication date:
02 Mar 2012
400 pages: 305 x 235 x 31mm
470 colour illustrations

This magnificent volume explores the epochal transformations and unexpected continuities in the Byzantine Empire from the 7th to the 9th century. At the beginning of the 7th century, the Empire's southern provinces, the vibrant, diverse areas of North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, were at the crossroads of exchanges reaching from Spain to China. These regions experienced historic upheavals when their Christian and Jewish communities encountered the emerging Islamic world, and by the 9th century, an unprecedented cross-fertilization of cultures had taken place.

This extraordinary age is brought vividly to life in insightful contributions by leading international scholars, accompanied by sumptuous illustrations of the period's most notable arts and artefacts. Resplendent images of authority, religion, and trade - embodied in precious metals, brilliant textiles, fine ivories, elaborate mosaics, manuscripts, and icons, many of them never before published - highlight the dynamic dialogue between the rich array of Byzantine styles and the newly forming Islamic aesthetic.

With its masterful exploration of two centuries that would shape the emerging medieval world, this illuminating publication provides a unique interpretation of a period that still resonates today.

More about this title

• This catalogue accompanies the exhibition 'Byzantium and Islam' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (March 14–July 8, 2012)
• Read an article about Byzantium and Islam on Yale's blog

Helen C. Evans is Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art in the Department of Medieval Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Brandie Ratliff is research associate for Byzantine Art in the Department of Medieval Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

"A sumptuous book that considers the upheavals in the Byzantine empire caused by the emerging Islamic world."—Church Times

"One of the great strengths of [this] volume… is the bringing together of objects and images generally kept in separate specialist compartments, in order to explore the hybrid nature of much early medieval art… It manages to combine much recent, innovative research in readable form, with outstanding introductions to the material finely illustrated. Its excellence in scholarship and quality represents a lasting achievement and will have wider influence than the exhibition it records." —Judith Herrin, Times Literary Supplement

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