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AKDC@MIT and The Met Museum Collaborate to make images available on Archnet

Black and white photograph of the Generalife: Patio de la Acequia: view along central axis.

Generalife: Patio de la Acequia: view along central axis. Photo: Juan Laurent (1816-1892), courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Islamic Art, and Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries (AKDC@MIT).

The Aga Khan Documentation Center has collaborated with the Department of Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) to digitize, catalog, and make available a number of historical photographs of Islamic architecture. The photos, most of which date between the 1880s and 1950s, show some of the great monuments of the Islamic tradition, both general and detailed views, often before modern restoration projects.

The first batch of nearly 300 photos is now available on Archnet. These are among the oldest of the collection, taken by pioneering photographers such as the Turkish photographer Pascal Sébah, his son Jean Sébah, and the Spanish photographer Rafael Señan y Gonzalez.

The photos entered the Met as part of a centralized educational lending collection, which was eventually discontinued, and the images sent to the respective curatorial departments. Today, the prints are housed in the library of the Department of Islamic Art.

These photographs are likely to be particularly useful to educators and those interested in the development of major sites over time, as these historic images can be compared to more recent photographs in our collection.  This collaboration was stewarded for AKDC by Matt Saba, Visual Resources Librarian, and for The Met by Courtney Stewart, a Researcher in the Department of Islamic Art.


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