Overview of the IAS General Meeting:

Islamic Area Studies: Comparisons and Connections

Date: Monday, July 20, 1998

Location: Tokyo University Yamanoue Kaikan


Session 1: Expanding Islamic Area Studies Using GIS

Analysis and meaning of changes in land cover patterns in the Persian Gulf area using remote sensing data
OKABE Atsuyuki and SAKAI Keiko (Institute of Developing Economies)

Progress of GIS analysis in Pannary, India
SADAHIRO Yukio (The Univ. Of Tokyo)/MIZUSHIMA Tsukasa (The Univ. Of Tokyo)

Aims of Research

This research has the following two main aims.

1. Spatial analysis of areas where Muslims and Hindus live together.

a. Layout of the community in the area

b. Issues concerning integration of the area

c. Spatial distribution of religious facilities

2. Consideration of the possibilities for the adaptation of GIS to Islamic Area Studies

a. Collection of spatial data

b. Data errors

c. Ambiguous data

d. Development of methods of spatial analysis

The process of analysis using GIS

The progress of GIS analysis in the following areas:

a. Creation of spatial (positional) data, creation of non-spacial data, combination of these two types of data.

b. Presentation and combination of spatial data, search for a hypothesis based on research

c. Spatial operation, spatial analysis

d. Presentation of the results of the analysis in a visual format

We will not necessarily follow these steps in strict order. Depending on the progress of the research, their order may change or we may leave a step incomplete and come back to it later. Presently, we are currently working on steps 1 and 2.

Issues related to the use of GIS in joint research

We are attempting to combine research in the humanities and technical research using GIS in the ways shown above. Presently, we are still in the process of developing this research, however in order to make use of GIS in this type of joint research, it has become clear that we must pay attention to the following important issues.

1. Collection and creation of spatial data

a. Availability of digital data

b. Availability of analog data

c. Cost of creation of the data (hardware, software, cost of labor (time cost), cost of outsourcing)

d. Errors in original data

e. Processing of ambiguous data

f. Use of additional data which becomes available during research

2. Mutual understanding between researchers

a. Understanding of mutually used technical terms (Islamic Studies, Area Studies, GIS, Computer Science)

b. Issues in research (research hypothesis)

c. Research methods (data able to be verified and searched)

d. Usable spatial analysis methods

When conducting joint research using GIS, all researchers should have a clear understanding of the above issues.


Methods of spacial data collection used in short-term field surveys and field surveys using small groups of researchers
MAGABUCHI Hidekuni (The University of Tokyo)

Urban data and GIS on Istanbul
ASAMI Yasushi (The University of Tokyo)

Research is being conducted using urban data on Istanbul with particular influence on the relationship between urban patterns constructed by road networks and the regional cultural background.

In this report, we use urban data from Istanbul to give an example of some of the functions of GIS. The actual analysis will lie in the combination of these functions and if the basic functions are understood, one can get a general picture of what can be accomplished by combining the functions. The content may be rather monotonous for those who are already familiar with GIS.

This type of urban spacial data has already been collected for several other cities in Turkey and used in city planning. Unfortunately however, it is not possible to use this data on a large scale because collection of all the data necessary would be extremely expensive and time consuming. Nevertheless, it is felt that in the future, methods employed in Area Studies may change dramatically through the collection and use of this type of data. The purpose of this report is to get a look at how these changes might take place and what they are. The software used in this research is known as SIS and is marketed by Infomatics, Inc.




Session 2: Saints and Sufis in Islamic Area Studies
(Panel Discussion)

TONAGA Yasushi (Kyoto University): Host; From the Point of View of Philosophy

YAJIMA Yoichi (Kyoto University Graduate School): From the Point of View of History

KOBAYASHI Yasuko (Aichi Gakusen University): The Case of Indonesia

KASUYA Gen (Nihon University): From the Point of View of Modern Turkish Politics

AKAHORI Masayuki (Sophia University): Comment from the Point of View of Anthropology


Session 3: Islamic Area Studies Through the Visual Arts

Speaker: YAMANLAR MIZUNO Minako (University of East Asia, Graduate School of integrated Science and Arts)

Research on the Sarai Album (Court Pictures): Images showing the connection between Istanbul, Tabriz, Herat and China

Among the many pieces of art in the Topkap Palace Art Museum, there are 45 albums known as muraqqa. Muraqqa were originally meant for the study of calligraphy, and they were collections left by calligraphy teachers. Later, pictures were added to them. Muraqqa came to include the works of revered calligraphers, fragments of works of calligraphy, exercises related to painting and writing, completed paintings, fragments of paintings, sketches, design motifs and other mounted leaves. There is no set makeup for a muraqqa and they were made according to the plan of the editors, therefore there are some which include only works of calligraphy or paintings.

It is believed that muraqqa began to be compiled toward the end of the Ilkhan period or the beginning of the Timur period. Throughout history, those in power in the Islamic world attempted to collect as many of the highly-regarded muraqqa as possible. It is for this reason that many muraqqa eventually made their way to the Ottoman Empire.

The specific albums which will be the subject of our research in this session are 4 pieces numbered H.2152, H.2153, H.2154 and H.2160 by the Topkap Palace Art Museum. These are generally known as the "Sarai Albums" or the "Istanbul Albums" (see the summary). These include a total of approximately 1,200 paintings in addition to many works of calligraphy, and exercises related to painting, etc. These 4 albums are clearly collections of samples for calligraphy and painting, but they also include rare pictures of demons and freaks signed by Siyah Kalem. They are important national treasures.

These paintings and fragmented writings which have been considered important by many dynasties in the Islamic world may provide valuable information which aid researchers not only in fields such as Art History and the history of calligraphy, but in other areas as well.

The Sarai Albums have been studied by researchers specializing in Islamic Art History from Europe, America and Turkey. However, because some of the works in the albums were produced in areas outside the Islamic world such as China and Europe, the fact that there are very few works which can be reliably dated and the fact that there is very little continuity in the works included in the albums, the research we are conducting concentrates on each work individually.

The Unit 5a Sarai Album research group includes participants specializing not only in Art History, but in many other fields. We hope to conduct a wide range of general research on the albums including research on the historical and cultural background of the creation of the muraqqa, the establishment of standards for poetry and painting, the creation of theories on visual arts, and organizations of studios. In addition, although there are some Chinese and central asian paintings included in the albums, there has been insufficient research done on them so we hope to make progress in this field of research.

So far, no comprehensive catalogue has been made of these albums, but we hope to work together with the Topkap Palace Art Museum to make such a catalog. We intend to collect the basic data required for this in the survey we will conduct at the Topkap Palace Art Museum in December of this year.

We plan to hold research seminars once every 2 or 3 months as well as a workshop in 2000. In addition to announcing the results of research, we intend to publish these announcements.

Nobuaki KONDO

Tokyo Metropolitan University