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Monuments and marvels
A defining record of Islamic art and architecture
Émile Prisse d’Avennes (1807–1879), a French Orientalist, author, and artist, was one of the greatest pre-20th-century Egyptologists. As a youth he dreamed of exploring the Orient, and at 19 began traveling to Greece, India, and Palestine. Over the next 40 years he explored Syria, Arabia, Persia, and also spent periods living in Egypt and Algeria. Having converted to Islam, he traveled under the Arabic name Idris Effendi.
With a keen eye for the symmetry, opulence, and complexity of local visual cultures, d’Avennes recorded the art and architecture which he encountered on his travels. His work would later become one of the most outstanding surveys on Islamic art and architecture, Arab Art (L’Art arabe d’après les monuments du Kaire), published between 1869 and 1877 in Paris.
This TASCHEN edition revives Prisse d’Avennes’s magisterial chromolithograph survey in all its attention to detail, as well as to historical, social, and religious contexts. For further situational understanding, it includes his supplementary studies of the people and costumes of the Nile Valley, which he published as the Oriental Album (Oriental Album: Characters, Costumes, and Modes of Life, the Valley of the Nile, London, 1848). It is a precious record not only of Islamic heritage but also of the history of thought and imagination between Europe and the Middle East.
About the series: Bibliotheca Universalis— Compact cultural companions celebrating the eclectic TASCHEN universe at an unbeatable, democratic price! Since we started our work as cultural archaeologists in 1980, the name TASCHEN has become synonymous with accessible, open-minded publishing. Bibliotheca Universalis brings together nearly 100 of our all-time favorite titles in a neat new format so you can curate your own affordable library of art, anthropology, and aphrodisia. Bookworm’s delight — never bore, always excite!
Text in English, French, and German
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