Review by Choice Review
This handsome volume, which is translated from the Italian and has some of the qualities of an old-fashioned coffee table book, covers more than 5,000 years of Mesopotamian art from pre-history to medieval Islam. Sectional essays, written by distinguished area specialists, are intended for a general audience, further indicated by the absence of most measurements, by the cursory notes, and by the bibliography. The special archaeological interests of the individual authors are evident, in particular the attention given to the Italian site of Hatra, long excavated by Italian archaeologists and well worth a visit. However, the great value of the book is to be found in the 190 superb color illustrations, followed by 63 pages of black-and-white photographs of key archaeological sites, including plans, aerial views, and reconstruction drawings. Curatola (archaeology, Muslim art, Univ. of Udine) and colleagues have succeeded in presenting many unfamiliar works of art and architecture that will make the attention of readers more than worthwhile. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. R. Brilliant emeritus, Columbia University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Though they stand on their own, these books are complementary in the historical connections and geographical proximity of the countries they cover-Iraq (Mesopotamia) and Iran (Persia)-and in their focus on post-17th century Islamic contributions, covering Mesopotamia through the 14th century and Persia through the 19th century. Another link they share is authorship by Curatola (Islamic archaeology & art history, Univ. of Udine, Italy) and Scarcia (Arab-Islamic cultural history, Univ. of Venice; Scirin: Queen of the Magi). Mesopotamia is concerned mostly with architecture, just briefly mentioning ceramics and manuscripts. In Persia, the coverage of architecture is still strong, but the authors devote one whole chapter to manuscripts and the miniature paintings featured in them and another to the extraordinary art of Persian carpets. Mesopotamia has a longer chronology and a greater number of contributors. One of those contributors, Roberta Venco Ricciardi, is director of the University of Turin's excavations in Hatra, and her coverage of those ancient ruins is particularly interesting (there is a slight overlap here with Persia, as Scarcia also discusses Hatra in his chapter on the Achaemenids, the Parthians, and the Sasanians). Both books contain maps and hundreds of glorious color photographs; Mesopotamia's handy chronological chart and substantial end section of black-and-white photographs and drawings of key archaeological sites nicely supplement its main text. Donny George, former director general of Bagdad's National Museum of Iraq, wrote Mesopotamia's introduction-it doesn't get more firsthand and relevant than that. While both books are recommended for all libraries, Mesopotamia is perhaps the stronger of the two because of immediate concerns about the irreplaceable wealth of Iraq's antiquities.-Anne Marie Lane, American Heritage Ctr. Lib., Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.