Inclusive Piety with an Exclusive Image: The Shi’i Shrines of Syria

Yasser Tabbaa, Visiting Professor of Art History, New York University Abu Dhabi presents a lecture as part of the VCUQatar 'Lectures in the Arts and Architecture of the Islamic World'.

Public Lecture

VCUQatar Atrium, Education City, Doha
Wednesday 19 January, 2010
6:30 PM

This presentation is open to the public and no reservations are required.

About the lecture

The new and newly renovated Shi'i shrines in Syria present the researcher with dichotomies and paradoxes that encompass their foreign patronage, uncommon architecture, and huge popularity among pilgrims and casual visitors alike. Whereas their quite discordant architecture and excessive ornamentation may repel some sophisticated observers, they have become central to the pious practices of hundreds of thousands of visitors from all of the surrounding Shi'ite world. The paper attempts reconcile the formal aspects of these shrines - their plan, design, ornament and inscriptions - with the most basic themes with the most basic themes of Shi'ite ritual, including the ziyara, the veneration of Ahl al-Bayt, the morals of martyrdom, and the prevailing theatricality of both ritual and architecture.

Yasser Tabbaa is a specialist in Medieval Islamic architecture. His work brings together the architectural and epigraphic aspects of buildings to better understand the social, political, and religious conditions under which they were built. He has published widely on monuments that span the regions of North Africa and the Middle East, and is currently at work on the intersection of Christian and Islamic art. Taabba received his B.A. from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He has previously taught at M.I.T. and the University of Michigan.

Lecture Dates

19 Jan


Free - Open invitation


VCUQatar Atrium