NEH banner [Return to Query]

Coverage for grant FB-57108-13

The Mediterranean in the Islamic Cartographic Imagination
Karen Pinto, Gettysburg College

Grant details:

History Prof Mapping a New View of the Medieval World (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Kathleen Tuck,
Publication: Boise State University
Date: 6/1/2015

"Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration. By Karen C. Pinto." (Review)
Author(s): Evelyn Edson
Publication: Imago Mundi
Date: 6/12/2017
Abstract: "Pinto's book is well-researched and provides a number of excellently reproduced, beautiful illustrations. One must be grateful for her extensive library research and the photographs she has made of rare world maps that are normally hard to see. The University of Chicago Press has done a magnificent job with the illustrations."

BOOK REVIEW: Karen C. Pinto, Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016) (Review)
Author(s): Marina Tolmacheva
Publication: Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art and Architecture
Date: 9/11/2017
Abstract: This book is a selective inquiry into the history of Islamic maps and the practice of mapping from the 9th through the 16th century. The book’s ambition is to use map analysis “to expand the boundaries” of the history of cartography and, more broadly, of Islamic history. It also deliberately focuses on maps as part of the Islamic art tradition and the history of material culture, aspects rarely discussed in the existing academic research on Islamic cartography. The book is lavishly illustrated; most maps are reproduced in high-quality color copy, many photographed by the author. Some maps are made available in print for the first time....Pinto is painstaking with regard to visual details of map ideography and decoration, while expressing hope that art historians will turn their attention to illustrations in scientific manuscripts. Her work is both meticulous and imaginative – truly an exploration."

Karen C. Pinto, Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2016. Pp. x, 406; many color figures. $60. ISBN: 978-0-226-12696-8. (Review)
Author(s): Francisco Franco-Sánchez
Publication: Speculum
Date: 7/2/2018
Abstract: "Pinto’s analysis shows how KMMS maps can be used as alternate gateways into the Islamic history of cartography. It is stimulating to see how this corpus of maps, until now largely neglected—unlike Ptolemaic cartography and its later developments—and considered of little significance to the study of the history of science, is now considered as relevant material for cartographic and historical studies."

“Karen C. Pinto:Medieval Islamic maps. An exploration” (Review)
Author(s): Marco Di Branco
Publication: Journal of Transcultural Medieval Studies
Date: 1/11/2018
Abstract: Medieval Islamic maps is a book on geography written by an historian and this is its main point of interest. In fact, the scope of the author’s intention is not only to introduce the reader to understand the maps contained in the Islamic geographical manuscripts of the Middle Ages, but also to analyze the role of cartography in the formation of the Muslim geographical and historical thought.

Review of Medieval Islamic Maps (Review)
Author(s): Rand Burnette
Publication: Terrae Incognitae
Date: 2/12/2018
Abstract: “The book is well written and easy to folow. The research is excellent ...What really stands out in her volume are the illustrations... I certainly recommend this work and believe it is a strong entry into a history of medieval maps.”

“Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration” (Review)
Author(s): Graham Chandler
Publication: Aramco World
Date: 7/18/2018
Abstract: “These Islamic maps are unique in the way they cross time and space,” states the author of this amply illustrated volume. Through the cartographic tradition known as kitab al-masalik wa al-mamalik (Book of Routes and Realms), focusing on iconography, context & patronage, Pinto shows how maps evolved into art objects rather than the guides depicting places, landforms & shorelines as we understand maps today. Many indeed look like abstract art but are actually highly schematic representations designed to make cultural & political sense of territory. She traces the development of Islamic mapping traditions alongside the cosmographic and cartographic descriptions of the cultures, including Hindu, Buddhist & Jain, that influenced those styles. She also points out intriguing mysteries—such as relatively obscure Beja tribe of eastern Africa, found on every map. Volume explores maps as gateways into Islamic history offering insights that can be appreciated by both scholars & general readers.”

“Mapping the Medieval World in Islamic Cartography with Karen Pinto” (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Nir Shafir
Date: 1/13/2016
Abstract: Hundreds of cartographic images of the world & its regions exist scattered throughout collections of medieval & early modern Arabic, Persian, & Turkish manuscripts. Sheer number of these extant maps tells us that from the thirteenth century onward, when these map-manuscripts began to proliferate, visually depicting the world became a major preoccupation of medieval Muslim scholars. However, these cartographers did not strive for mimesis, that is, representation or imitation of the real world. These schematic, geometric, & often symmetrical images of the world are iconographic representations—‘carto-ideographs’—of how medieval Muslim cartographic artists & their patrons perceived their world & chose to represent & disseminate this perception…we sit down with Karen Pinto to discuss the maps found in the cartographically illustrated Kitāb al-Masālik wa-al-Mamālik (Book of Routes and Realms) tradition, which is the first known geographic atlas of maps, its influence on Ottoman cartography…

“American scholar sheds light on Mediaeval Islamic Maps” (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Peerzada Salman
Publication: Dawn
Date: 11/15/2019
Abstract: “When you make a map, you have to make choices what to put in and what not to put in. This was one of the points made by Karen C. Pinto in her lecture on ‘Mediaeval Islamic maps — Sindh and the influence of Pakistan’ at the Mohatta Palace Museum on Thursday evening.”

“ Dr Karen Pinto Visits Aljamea Karachi” (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah
Publication: Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah
Date: 11/20/2019
Abstract: On Saturday, 16th November, Dr Karen C Pinto, a professor at Boise State University’s College of Innovation and Design and an eminent medieval Islamic maps expert visited Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Karachi. Dr Pinto delivered a talk to students and faculty on the topic of medieval Islamic maps where she explained their prominent characteristics and distinctive features. She spoke of the tendency for such maps to be oriented to the South, the concept of an encircling ocean and the symbolism of birds. Having studied and collected over 3000 medieval maps, her expertise and breadth of knowledge were apparent as she delivered a riveting lecture. She also introduced the audience to her monumental medieval map classification project, a website named MIME (Medieval Islamic Maps Encyclopedia).