Scope and Updates (Version 7.0, April 2020)
The Database covers examples of the painted page dating from about 700 to 1900 CE from all over the Islamic world. Persian painting and Ottoman painting are especially widely covered but Arab, Sultanate, Mughal and other sources are all included. The Database includes illuminations, decorated Qur'an pages and book bindings as well as figurative paintings in manuscripts, albums and on single pages.
Notes on the current version of the Database:
Accuracy: While every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the sources and details entered into this database, users may still find occasional errors. It would be most helpful if users could contact us to point these out so that we can keep improving the site.
Weblinks: The database offers links to assist finding online images, but some collections are much more fully digitised than others. Links will only work for items that have been digitised.
Transliteration: Modern publications adopt different transliteration schemes for Arabic, Persian and Turkish names and words. The database now offers users the option of fully-accented Library of Congress transliteration, or "Anglicised" IJMES (ie no dotted letters etc. but apostrophes retained for ayn and hamza; au is preferred to aw in diphthongs). In many cases Arabic script versions are also included.
Dates and places of origin: Different publications also ascribe different dates, different places of origin and so on to specific works. The database attempts to give preference to the majority view, but in some cases its entries record the alternative opinions of the publication authors. In these cases, a search may yield apparently contradictory data for the same painting.
Picture Descriptions: The database includes descriptions or titles for all its entries, which can be searched on a Google-like basis using keywords. Since different authorities describe the same scene in different ways,the database holds a list of consistent descriptions, so that all depictions of the same scene have the same description. However the database also holds a list of thousands of alternative descriptions, reflecting the varied titles given by various authorities. Users will generally find it simplest to search using the consistent descriptions, but can search by alternative description as well to resolve any issues.
Addition of Qur’an Details search page plus additional data: total content now 47,500 references (April 2020)
Transfer of hosting to University of Hamburg, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures: Renewed home page and styling (June 2019)
Extension of image facilities for 20 collections: Content now 42,500 references, 50% with images (June 2019)
Improvements to presentation of images, search page and results format: Content now 35,700 references (July 2018)
Major extension of data, thumbnails and images, FIHRIST links completely updated, some bugs fixed: Content now 33,000 references (Apr 2018)
Inclusion of painted works only published online (first tranche): Content now 27,500 references (Dec 2017)
Thumbnails, medium-res linked images and iframes added (first tranche): 6500 references extended (Dec 2017)
Additional data and some hotlinks corrected: Content now 24,300 references (Jun 2016)
Additional data: Content now 23,000 references (Jan 2016)
Data cleanup: Data verification completed to eliminate conflicting and "invisible" references (Jan 2016)
Print Facility: Print facility to permit printing of full table width (Aug 2015)
Links to VIAF: Direct links to the names authority site added as part of transliteration upgrade (Aug 2015)
Links to FIHRIST: Direct links to FIHRIST MS authority site added; content now 20,600 references (Aug 2015)
Alternative Transliterations: Library of Congress, Anglicised IJMES and Arabic script options available (Aug 2015)
Consistent Transliteration: Complete revision of all author and title data for fully consistent transliteration (Aug 2015)
Direct links to images: Direct links to online images added for collections that have searchable digitised image banks (Sept 2014, extended Aug 2015)
Journals as well as books: Database coverage extended to very many journal and conference publications as well as books; content now 17,500 references (Oct 2014)
Links for publications: Direct links to find publications online (eg using JSTOR for some journals) and using Worldcat (for books) (Oct 2014)
Improved search by place: Improved nested search by region/search by city and improved page holding (Sept 2014)
Alternative Picture Descriptions: Inclusion of alternative descriptions with own search facility (Sept 2014)
Consistent Descriptions: Consistent titling for to scenes from all major cycles such as Firdausi's Shahnama (Sept 2014)
Completion of Picture Descriptions: Picture descriptions added for every entry in the database; content now 12,800 references (Jan 2014)
Additional weblinks: Weblinks added for most of the collections referenced in the database (Jan 2014)
Initial launch: September 2013 initial site, limited data; Initial content 12,300 references