Eastern Light

Western Fascination for Islamic Colored Glass Windows

Keywords: glass art, James William Wild, Karl von Urach, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Cairo


Islamic colored glass windows (qamarīyāt) have long been disregarded by scholarship despite their popularity with nineteenth-century travelers. Their vibrant light and bright colors have sparked the enthusiasm of artists, architects, and collectors who depicted, recreated, and displayed this fragile art form. By focusing on the British architect James William Wild, the eccentric traveler and art collector Karl von Urach, and the iconic American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, this contribution will highlight the artistic and cultural significance of qamarīyāt as an expression of the intense colors of the East. 

Author Biography

Francine Giese, Vitrocentre Romont & Vitromusée Romont

Francine Giese is director of the Vitrocentre and the Vitromusée Romont, Switzerland. From 2014-2019 she held a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) professorship at the Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich, where she led the research project “Mudejarismo and Moorish Revival in Europe.” Her PhD thesis, dealing with the Islamic ribbed vault, was published in 2007 (Gebr. Mann), and her habilitation (second book) on building and restoration practices in the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba was issued in 2016 (Peter Lang). In her current research project “Luminosity of the East” (SNSF, 2020-2024), she focuses on the typology, materiality and provenance of Islamic colored glass windows (qamarīyāt) within Western museum collections. Her research focuses on transfer and exchange processes between the Islamic World and the West, architectural Orientalism, provenance research, and the arts of glass. 

How to Cite
Giese, F. (2022). Eastern Light: Western Fascination for Islamic Colored Glass Windows. Manazir Journal, 3, 93–109. https://doi.org/10.36950/manazir.2021.3.7