Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture
Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations
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Brief Biography

Bernard O'Kane is a professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at The American University in Cairo, where he has been teaching since 1980. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley. He has authored several books including The Mosques of Egypt, The Illustrated Guide to the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, Timurid Architecture in Khurasan and Mosques: the 100 Most Iconic Islamic Houses of Worship. O’Kane is also an avid photographer. He recently directed the creation of the The Monumental Inscriptions of Cairo database featuring searchable and translated transcriptions of epigraphy on Cairo’s historic monuments.

  • Online Database (since October 2017)

    The Monumental Inscriptions of Historic Cairo

    Books: a single author

    Mosques: the 100 Most Iconic Islamic Houses of Worship (New York).

    Assouline Publishers, 2019, with 67 of his photographs).

    The Mosques of Egypt (Cairo, AUC Press, 2017, 400pp., with 543 of his photos).

    Reviewed: Honorable Mention, The PROSE Awards (Professional and Scholarly Excellence) of the Association of American Publishers.

    The Illustrated Guide to the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo (Cairo, AUC Press, 2012) 381 pp., 285 ills.

    The Appearance of Persian on Islamic Art, Biennial Ehsan Yarshater Lecture Series, 4 (Persian Heritage Foundation, New York, 2009), 208pp., 71 ills.

    Treasures of Islam: Artistic Glories of the Muslim World (Duncan Baird Publishers, London, 2007; co-published in the Middle East as The World of Islamic Art [AUC Press]).

    Translated into French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Estonian, Arabic, Czech and Polish:

    Trésors de l’Islam 2008

    Die Schätze des Islam. Kostbarkeiten aus zwei Jahrtausenden 2008

    De schatten van de islam: kostbaarheden uit twee millennia 2008

    Tesoros del Islam 2008

    Islami aarded: muslimimaailma hiilgus kunstis 2008

    Kunuz al-Islam, 2008

    Poklady islámu - Umělecká sláva muslimského světa 2009

    Skarby islamu 2009

    Library edition, published as The Civilization of the Islamic World (New York, Rosen Publishing, 2013)

    Early Persian Painting: Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late-Fourteenth Century  (I.B. Tauris Publishers, London and AUC Press, Cairo, 2003), 336 pages, 92 col. pls., 53 b&w figures. Publication grants awarded by the Dar al-Athar, Kuwait; the Kevorkian Foundation, New York; the Iran Heritage Foundation, London and the Barakat Trust, Oxford.

    Studies in Persian Art and Architecture (AUC Press, Cairo, 1995) (volume of 14 reprinted articles).

    Timurid Architecture in Khurasan (Mazdâ Publishers in association with Undena Publications, Costa Mesa, 1987), 418, 109 figs., 308 pls. Publication grants awarded by the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Aga Khan Publications Program, the British Institute of Persian Studies and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

    Books: sole editor

    Creswell Photographs Re-examined: New Perspectives on Islamic Architecture (AUC Press, Cairo, 2009).

    Treasures of the Islamic Museums in Cairo (AUC Press, Cairo, 2006).

    The Iconography of Islamic Art: Studies in Honour of Robert Hillenbrand (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh and AUC Press, Cairo, 2005).

  • PhD, 1982, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Research Interest
  • Iranian art and architecture
  • Egyptian Islamic art and architecture
  • Islamic epigraphy
  • Islamic tilework