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In 1671, Ambrosio Bembo, a young nobleman bored with everyday life in Venice, decided to broaden his knowledge of the world through travel. That August he set off on a remarkable, occasionally hazardous, four-year voyage to Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and the Portuguese colonies of western India. His journal, now translated into English for the first time, is the most important new European travel account of western Asia to be published in the past hundred years. It opens an extraordinary perspective on the Near East and India at a time when few Europeans traveled to these lands. Keenly observed and engagingly written, Bembo's vivid account is filled with a high sense of adventure and curiosity and provides intriguing descriptions of people, landscapes, food, fashion, architecture, customs, cities, commerce, and more. Presented here with the original illustrations and with a rich introduction and annotations, this lively and important historical document is at last available to scholars, students, and armchair travelers alike.
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Venice to Aleppo
2. From Aleppo to Basra
3. Basra, the Gulf, and the Arabian Sea
5. From Iran to Venice
Suggestions for Further Reading
Anthony Welch is Professor in the Department of History in Art at the University of Victoria. He is author of Shah ‘Abbas and the Arts of Isfahan, Arts of the Islamic Book (with S.C. Welch), Calligraphy in the Arts of the Muslim World, and Artists for the Shah: Late Sixteenth Century Painting at the Imperial Court of Iran, among other books. Clara Bargellini is Senior Research Fellow and Professor at the Instituto de
Investigaciones Estéticas at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has written widely on the art of colonial Mexico, and most recently has contributed to The Arts of Latin America, 1492-1820.
“[Bembo’s] perceptive observations are valuable as a fresh primary source to supplement the well-known travel accounts of Jean Chardin and de Thevennot on Iran of the seventeenth century”—Costume
“Readers of all levels will find this an accessible and illuminating text, complete with 52 plates of Grelot’s rough but detailed illustrations.”—N. Bisaha Choice
"This work makes an important contribution. . . . It also introduces a fascinating young observer from Venice full of humor and curiosity about everything."—Oleg Grabar, author of The Formation of Islamic Art