NIAS Inside – fine scholarship from NIAS Press

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All scholarly books experience a brief moment of freshness at publication. Thereafter they age, some gracefully, while a select few works mature becoming timeless classics in their field. However, far too many studies wither under the pitiless sun of passing time, fading into irrelevance.
Sadly, most books do not become utterly irrelevant, let alone valueless; they are simply forgotten. And yet, time and again, something happens in the world that apparently is new but which is beautifully explained – given context – by one of these old texts.
NIAS books are not immune to ageing, either, but NIAS Press have decided to do something about the obsession with new and the stampede towards obsolescence – hence the launching of a new website with which they aim to link current events (especially in Asia) to Asia research published by NIAS.

Their new blog, NIAS Inside, is a website demonstrating that fine scholarship is timeless and it will be worth watching.

More information and the latest NIAS Press catalogue can be found on the NIAS Press homepage.

(Source: NIAS Press Newsletter May 2014)



Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic World

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A brand-new book with the title Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic World by Annabel Gallop and Venetia Porter, with contributions from Heba Nayel Barakat, Nurul Iman Rusli, Ros Mahwati Ahmad Zakaria, Fariba Roomi, Arif Naushahi and Jan van der Putten, highlights not only the importance of seal culture around the Islamic world over a span of 1300 years, but dedicates much attention to Southeast Asia. It has been published by the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in association with the British Library and the British Museum as a result of the exhibition with the same title, which travelled to various libraries and museums in the UK and Malaysia.

Presented in this book are over 300 Islamic seals, dating from the earliest days of Islam through to the modern era. They include both matrices made of precious stone and metal, and impressions stamped on manuscript documents and books, mainly from the collections of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, the British Library and the British Museum. Unlike European seals which are primarily pictorial, in Islamic seals the inscription takes centre stage. It is this focus on writing, in the sacred Arabic script, which links seals from all parts of the Muslim world, from Morocco to Malaysia, and from Iran to India and Indonesia.

Annabel Teh Gallop and Venetia Porter: Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic World. Kuala Lumpur: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, 2012. – 199 pp., ill., maps. ISBN 978-983-44696-9-6