20 March 2013: Lasting Impressions, Seals from the Islamic World

Lasting Impressions“Masterworks in miniature, each of these seals leaves lasting impressions of the people who commissioned and used them, and the Islamic worlds in which they were created…”

With over 100 vivid images of seals, letters, maps and other paraphernalia, Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic World offers – for scholars and curious readers alike – a delightful and enriching education on Islamic seals: powerful symbols of persona once so ubiquitous and valued in Muslim societies. Like business cards of today, a person’s seal-ring was a carefully crafted product of self-expression, an indication to the world who he was, where he was from, when he lived and what he found meaningful. But besides being unique to its user, a seal also offers key historical insights into the societies from which they came: in some places, for instance, almost everyone had a seal-ring; in others, the use of seals as restricted to the court hierarchy. Despite their unique capacity to shed light on the minutiae of Islamic history, many seal matrixes and impressions remain unscrutinized by historians.

Lasting Impressions was published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition held in 2012 at the Islamic Arts Museum, based on an earlier travelling photographic exhibition of the British Library and British Museum. Divided into five sections, the book surveys the uses of Islamic seals, examines images of seal matrices and impressions, and considers the seals’ content and form. Many of the seals have never been published before. Covering a large historical landscape, the book touches on many diverse subjects: it traces the seals of Kedah and Aceh back to their original designer, describes the Mughal genealogical seal, and explains how seals evolved in the last two hundred years, thanks to increased European influence. By analyzing over 75 unique seals, some over 500 years old, the book provides its readers with a unique glance into the greater narrative of Asian and World history.

Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Islamic World is on sale for RM 120. Please click here for more information, or to purchase.