Category Archives: Architecture

AIYS at MESA

AIYS held two well-attended panels at MESA in Boston last week.  Here are some of the photos from the panel organized by Dan Mahoney on the destruction of Yemen’s cultural heritage:

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Dr. Lamya Khalidi, Dr. Krista Lewis and Dr. Dan Mahoney at MESA

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Dr. McGuire Gibson at the heritage panel.  Dr. Gibson was the founder of AIYS in 1978.

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Dr. Lamya Khalidi, who also provided a video of Dr. al-Sayani, the current Director of the General Organization of Antiquities  and Museums in Yemen.

And here are photos from the panel organized by Dr. Marieke Brandt:

Continue reading AIYS at MESA

Yemen’s World Heritage in Venice

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Dr. Alessandro de Maigret (1943-2011)

Announcing an Exhibition and Conference

Yemen’s World Heritage. Archaeology, Art and Architecture
Museum of Oriental Art in Venice
October 20 – December 16, 2016

A joint initiative of:
Museums of the Veneto – Museum of Oriental Art , Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage, Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen, Monumenta Orientalia, Rome

The Oriental Art Museum, the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage and the Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen want to promote a series of events to make known in Venice’s the historic and artistic heritage of Yemen. Since March 2015 Yemen has been in a conflict in which the bombing violated numerous protected sites both nationally and internationally recognized, and destroyed museums and monuments of the rich cultural past of the country.
Recently, UNESCO reiterated its condemnation of the destruction perpetrated against the world heritage of Yemen and initiated a campaign # Unite4Heritage, the Yemeni Heritage Week: Museums United for Yemen for 2016, involving the major museums of Europe (the British Museum, Musée du Louvre, Hermitage, etc.).

From Prehistory to the present day the extreme tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has preserved unique features in the production of their material culture, whose forms are as native as the result of exchanges and synergies with Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean. Historians of Greek and Roman classicism used to talk about Yemen using the nickname Arabia Felix, as a land of prosperity and wealth, not only material but also geographical and territorial. Yemen was, in fact, at the center of an important caravan and maritime trade axis: here met traders from India and the Horn of Africa with those who would later traced to the north of the Peninsula to enrich the courts of the various empires in Mediterranean with products such as incense, myrrh, spices, pearls and precious stones.
The deep bond of man with the settlement territory is expressed in through the remains of south Arabian kingdoms – the most notable of which is the Kingdom of Sheba – which were already using the house typology commonly referred as Yemen “tower house”.
With the start of Islam then, the Yemeni architecture has been enhanced with new forms and stylistic paradigms, and many temples of the pagan tradition turned into mosques. Archaeological studies conducted in Yemen have shown a slow and lasting osmosis between pre-Islamic and Islamic civilization.

The initiative promoted at the Museum of Oriental Art in Venice will go right to investigate this union, to raise awareness of an almost unknown cultural heritage in the West, whose origins are lost in the often muffled contours of myth.

The initiative also wants to highlight some Italian experiences, namely that of the Italian Archaeological Mission in the Republic of Yemen (MAIRY), began in 1980 and that of the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage began in 2005. Both have as their purpose the protection and enhancement of Yemeni heritage and both have been accomplished in total synergy with local counterparts, thus becoming moments of much scientific as human enrichment.

A series of seminars and meetings, by national and international experts at the Oriental Art Museum, will bring the public closer to the peculiarities of the history and culture of the country. In the room which will host the conference there will be some photo-descriptive panels on display that will illustrate some aspects of archeology, art and architecture of Yemen as  direct testimony of both the Italian Archaeological Mission and  the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage.

Continue reading Yemen’s World Heritage in Venice

AIYS MESA Roundtable on Destruction of Yemen’s Heritage

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The following roundtable will take place at the annual MESA meeting in Boston on November 18.

[R4434] The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Yemen and Current Preservation Efforts

Created by Daniel Mahoney
Friday, 11/18/16 10:00am
Participants: McGuire Gibson, David B. Hollenberg, Krista Lewis, Lamya Khalidi

SUMMARY:
This roundtable, sponsored by the American Institute for Yemeni studies, will discuss the destruction of cultural heritage in Yemen, in light of the Saudi coalition air strikes as well as the ensuing internal conflict and rising Islamism, in order to assess the extent of damage and solutions for current protection and future preservation. Since March 2015, Saudi coalition air strikes have been conducted in Yemen under the stated purpose of countering Houthi rebels who had taken control of the capital Sanaa and a large part of the country. This offensive has left over 6,000 dead, over 30,000 wounded, and 2.5 million internally displaced. Another result has been the continuous destruction of over 47 archaeological sites and monuments, as confirmed by Mohannad Al-Sayani, director of the General Organization for Antiquities and Museums of Yemen. These include not only historical mosques and citadels, but also 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites including the celebrated vernacular architecture of old Sanaa, the pre-Islamic cities of Baraqish and Sirwah, and the famed Marib dam, all of which have already previously undergone significant restoration efforts. Additionally, more than six museums have been damaged by aerial shelling, among them the regional museum of Dhamar and the National Museum of Sanaa. This extensive destruction clearly provokes further questioning into the motivations of these campaigns which seem to target highly valued places of cultural heritage. The pattern becomes further complicated by the confirmation that, while the U.S. State Department (and UNESCO) had given the Saudi coalition a list of specific sites to avoid and their location, they also provided it with logistical support and intelligence for their military offensive. Conversely, other efforts have are being made to try to preserve and document Yemeni heritage before it is lost, such as the Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative, wherein a team of scholars from inside and outside of Yemen are working together to create a digital library of manuscripts taken from private collections in Yemen. By addressing current damage, this round table is organized with the intention of raising awareness regarding the destruction of priceless world heritage and finding current and future solutions for its protection and preservation by local authorities and specialists.

مسجد الأبهر

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اليمن العربي:
التاريخية القديمة، والتي أعيد ترميم الكثير منها، خشية تعرضها للانهيار.

واحتفظت عدسة الكاميرا بصور تاريخية لبعض المساجد القديمة في صنعاء.

ومن بين تلك المساجد مسجد الأبهر، الواقع في الجهة الجنوبية الغربية من حارة الأبهر، على الطريق النافذة من السائلة إلى جامع صنعاء.

يذكر أن المسجد بُني عام 763 هـ، وكان يعرف بجامع “بنت الأمير” بأمر من فاطمة بنت الأمير الأسد رأس أكراد ذمار.

وفاطمة بنت الأمير هي زوجة الإمام الناصر صلاح الدين المهدي.

شاهد المحتوى الأصلي علي بوابة اليمن العربى:
http://www.alyamanalaraby.com/65544#ixzz4C1fFb5hz

More AIYS at MESA 2016

AIYS will be sponsoring a second panel at MESA in Boston, as follows:

[R4434] The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Yemen and Current Preservation Efforts

Created by Daniel Mahoney
Friday, 11/18/16 10:00am

SUMMARY:

This roundtable, sponsored by the American Institute for Yemeni studies, will discuss the destruction of cultural heritage in Yemen, in light of the Saudi coalition air strikes as well as the ensuing internal conflict and rising Islamism, in order to assess the extent of damage and solutions for current protection and future preservation. Since March 2015, Saudi coalition air strikes have been conducted in Yemen under the stated purpose of countering Houthi rebels who had taken control of the capital Sanaa and a large part of the country. This offensive has left over 6,000 dead, over 30,000 wounded, and 2.5 million internally displaced. Another result has been the continuous destruction of over 47 archaeological sites and monuments, as confirmed by Mohannad Al-Sayani, director of the General Organization for Antiquities and Museums of Yemen. These include not only historical mosques and citadels, but also 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites including the celebrated vernacular architecture of old Sanaa, the pre-Islamic cities of Baraqish and Sirwah, and the famed Marib dam, all of which have already previously undergone significant restoration efforts. Additionally, more than six museums have been damaged by aerial shelling, among them the regional museum of Dhamar and the National Museum of Sanaa. This extensive destruction clearly provokes further questioning into the motivations of these campaigns which seem to target highly valued places of cultural heritage. The pattern becomes further complicated by the confirmation that, while the U.S. State Department (and UNESCO) had given the Saudi coalition a list of specific sites to avoid and their location, they also provided it with logistical support and intelligence for their military offensive. Conversely, other efforts have are being made to try to preserve and document Yemeni heritage before it is lost, such as the Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative, wherein a team of scholars from inside and outside of Yemen are working together to create a digital library of manuscripts taken from private collections in Yemen. By addressing current damage, this round table is organized with the intention of raising awareness regarding the destruction of priceless world heritage and finding current and future solutions for its protection and preservation by local authorities and specialists.

The panel will be chaired by Dr. Daniel Mahoney. The panelists include:

The Road to Kawkaban

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The fortified Yemeni town of Kawkaban in 1978.
Photo courtesy Daniel Martin Varisco

Reposted from Anthropology News

In the spring of 1978 my wife, Najwa Adra, and myself traveled to various locations in Yemen (the Yemen Arab Republic at the time) looking for the appropriate place to conduct our ethnographic research.  On our way to the valley where we eventually settled in, we stopped at a breathtaking mountain-top town called Kawkaban, a historic fortress town in the history of Yemen’s north.  In the past, it was virtually impregnable from the bottom of the mountain, where an old and important market town named Shibam was located.  There was only one entrance across a deep gorge and it was a defensible gate. We walked up the rugged trail to the top and spent the night in a old house turned into a simple hotel.  Touring the town, we saw the well preserved stone houses and water cisterns, as well as the ruins of what had been a thriving Jewish quarter before the emigration to Israel in the 1950s.  That night the hotel’s owner, who lived in the capital, was visiting and invited us for tea.  When we told him we were anthropologists on our way to the nearby Wadi al-Ahjur, he offered us a ride the next day to his family home there.  I have the fondest memories of this first trip to Kawkaban, although there were many more.

The fortress of Kawkaban figures prominently in the history of north Yemen, even before Islam. It was especially significant during the era of the Zaydi imams over the past millennium.  It was the stronghold of the sayyid Sharaf al-Din family, who were the Zaydi rulers during the 17th and 18th centuries.  The Ayyubid and Rasulid overlords from the 12th through the 15th centuries attacked the fortress repeatedly with rock throwers, but were seldom successful.  An accomplished Yemeni poet named Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Kawkabani (died 1601) is credited with over 116 poems and several of the old houses contain important Yemeni manuscripts. The town is also known for its musicians, including the renowned singer Muhammad al-Harithi. The musical group Thalatha Kawkabani was known throughout the Arab world.

Continue reading The Road to Kawkaban