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The Myth of the Orient

Architecture and Ornament in the Age of Orientalism

Edited By Francine Giese and Ariane Varela Braga

This volume commemorates the 160th anniversary of the Selamlik of Oberhofen Castle near Thun – one of the most significant Swiss Orientalist interiors, designed by the Bernese architect Theodor Zeerleder (1820–1868) – by presenting the latest research on the spectacular smoking room inspired by the luxurious reception halls in Cairo, which Zeerleder discovered during his travels to the East. At the same time, this collection of essays explores the significance of the famous city on the Nile as a privileged model for 19th-century architecture and ornamentation, bringing together papers by Mercedes Volait (Paris), Romain Siegenfuhr (Paris), Richard Parisot (Besançon), Elke Pflugradt-Abdel Aziz (Düsseldorf), Tarek Ibrahim (Berlin), Vincenza Garofalo (Palermo), Andrea Lermer (München), Rémi Labrusse (Paris), Ariane Varela Braga (Zürich), Leïla el-Wakil (Genève), Francine Giese (Zürich) and Annette Loeffel (Bern).

Francine Giese is SNSF professor at the University of Zurich. Her PhD thesis and habilitation dealt with different aspects of Islamic architecture and its preservation. Her research interests are Islamic art and architecture, cross-cultural exchanges in the Middle Ages and the appropriation of Islamic aesthetics in the West. Current projects: Mudejarismo and Moorish Revival in Europe / The Orient in Switzerland.

Ariane Varela Braga is SNSF assistant and post-doc researcher at the University of Zurich, in the project "Mudejarismo and Moorish Revival in Europe", directed by F. Giese. Her PhD thesis examined the genesis and theory of Owen Jones’ Grammar of Ornament. She has taught at John Cabot University and has been a fellow of the Swiss Institute in Rome.