fine arts department
Fields of Interest
Islamic art, especially the arts of Iran and Central Asia, the art and architecture produced under the Mongols, calligraphy and books.
Professor Blair teaches about all aspects of Islamic art from the seventh century to modern times. She offers surveys on Islamic art, architecture, and urbanism, as well as research seminars on the Silk Road, the Islamic book, and the arts of the object. Her research is equally broad: she has written or co-written 15 books, including several international award winners, and more than 200 articles in journals, encyclopedias, colloquia, and festschriften. Several of her books were written with her husband and co-holder of the Calderwood Chair, Jonathan Bloom, with whom she served as artistic consultant to the three-hour documentary Islam: Empire of Faith, shown nationally on PBS. She is currently working on a monograph on text and image in medieval Iranian art, a two-hour documentary for PBS on the arts of Islam, and a 2013 exhibition at the McMullen Museum of Islamic art from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Islamic Calligraphy (Edinburgh University Press, 2006); winner of the 2007 British-Kuwait Friendship Society/British Society of Middle Eastern Studies Prize and the 2008 World Prize for the Book of the Year by the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance; selected as a 2007 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title.
Islamic Inscriptions (Edinburgh University Press, 1998); winner of the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize for the best book on Middle Eastern studies published in Britain, 1999.
A Compendium of Chronicles: Rashid al-Din's Illustrated History of the World, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, vol. XXVII, ed. Julian Raby (The Nour Foundation in association with Azimuth Editions and Oxford University Press, 1995); winner of the Bahari Prize for the best book on Persian civilization, 1998.
The Monumental Inscriptions from Early Islamic Iran and Transoxiana (E. J. Brill, 1992)
The Ilkhanid Shrine Complex at Natanz, Iran, Harvard Middle East Papers, Classical Series no. 1 (Cambridge, MA: Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, 1986); Persian translation by Vali-allah Kavusi Mi‘mārīyi īlkhānī dar na anz: majmu‘ah-i mazār-i shaykh ‘abd al-amad (Tehran: Iranian Academy of Art, 1387/2008).
with Oleg Grabar, Epic Images and Contemporary History: The Illustrations of the Great Mongol Shahnama (University of Chicago Press, 1980)
Co-written or edited with Jonathan Bloom
Cosmophilia: Islamic Art from the David Collection, Copenhagen (Boston College: McMullen Museum, Chestnut Hill, 2006).
Prisse d’Avennes: Arab Art (Taschen, 2010)
Diverse are their Hues: Color in Islamic Art and Culture [The Third Hamad bin Khalifa Biennial Symposium on Islamic Art] (Yale University Press, 2011).
Rivers of Paradise: Water in Islamic Art and Culture [The Second Hamad bin Khalifa Biennial Symposium on Islamic Art] (Yale University Press, 2009).
The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture (Oxford University Press, 2009); Winner of the 2010 World Prize for the Book of the Year from the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of Islamic Studies.
Islam: A Thousand Years of Faith and Power (Yale University Press, 2001).
Islamic Arts (Phaidon, 1997).
The Art and Architecture of Islam: 1250 - 1800. [The Pelican History of Art] (Yale University Press, 1994).
Images of Paradise in Islamic Art (Hanover, NH, 1991).