A form of political writing often called advice literature, and shared by Christian and Muslim lands during the Middle Ages, mirrors for princes attempted to elevate statecraft (dawla) to the same level as faith/ religion (din). These guides for future rulers – Machiavelli’s The Prince being a widely known example – addressed the delicate balance between seclusion and society, spirit and state, echoes of which we continue to find in the US, Europe and the Middle East several centuries later.
Today, we suffer from the very opposite dilemma: there’s no shortage of political commentary but a notable lack of intelligent, eloquent discourse on the role of faith and the immaterial as a valuable agent in society or public life.
Mirrors for Princes brings together the writing of preeminent scholars and essayists using the genre of medieval advice literature as a starting point from which to discuss fate, fortune and governance, difference as generosity, mammary politics, grooming and voice-over translations.
With essays by Manan Asif Ahmed, David Crowley, Anna Della Subin, Lloyd Ridgeon, and Neguin Yavari.
Mirrors for Princes is edited by Anthony Downey, Editor-in-Chief of Ibraaz, and published on the occasion of Slavs and Tatars’ exhibition at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery.
Offset print, 20 x 25 cm, 192 pages, color throughout, otabinding with gloss laminated dust jacket, 2015. Edition of 2,000. Available via JRP|Ringier.