Umberto Bongianino


Departmental Lecturer in Islamic Art and Architecture

Faculty / College Address:

Oriental Institute / Wolfson College



M.Phil. in Islamic Art and Archaeology (2011-13)

'"And their figures and colours should be different". Carved and incised frit-wares from Fāṭimid Fusṭāṭ'

D.Phil. in Oriental Studies (2013-17)

'The origin and development of Maghribī scripts: epigraphic and calligraphic traditions of the western Islamic lands'

Research Interests:

I am principally interested in the architecture and material culture of the Islamic dynasties that ruled across the medieval Mediterranean between the 7th and the 13th centuries. My studies have focused on a number of topics, including the Islamic components of Norman Sicilian art, ceramic production and trade in Fāṭimid Egypt and Syria, Fāṭimid architecture and archaeology in Cairo, Tunisia, and Libya (Ajdābiya). My doctoral research concentrated on the arts of the book in the Maghrib and al-Andalus between the 10th and the 13th centuries. Through the paleographic and codicological analysis of about 150 manuscripts copied in the Muslim West, now kept in libraries and collections all over the world, I attempted to reconstruct the development of Maghribī round scripts. My main aim was to better understand the role played by religious, social, political, and aesthetic factors in influencing the scribal practices of copyists and calligraphers in the Western Islamic lands.

Umberto Bongianino