Book Launch: Stéphane Pradines’ La Collection d’armes orientales de Pierre Loti (Pierre Loti’s Collection of Oriental Arms and Armour)

The Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations is delighted to invite you to the launch of Stéphane Pradines' new book; La Collection d’armes orientales de Pierre Loti (Pierre Loti’s Collection of Oriental Arms and Armour) on Monday 24 June 2019.


Pierre Loti was a famous French Orientalist writer, a traveller who used his house and his fabulous collection as a permanent theatre. All the objects that he accumulated became part of the house and supported the Orientalist dreams of Pierre Loti. "The Elsewhere House" as Loti describes his abode, has three Oriental rooms, decorated with various objects, including an array of weapons in the Turkish Salon. Pierre Loti's residence in Rochefort follows a pattern that is inspired by both the Neo-Gothic styles and Orientalism, two fashions of the 19th Century. Orientalist fantasies still remain a 'secret garden' and the Oriental rooms are not discernible from the outside; the front of the building looks like any other very conventional façade, just like the façade of the famous house that once belonged to Frederic Leighton, located near Holland Park in London. This connection between artists and explorers is particularly interesting in the case of Pierre Loti who was not only a writer but also an illustrator, photographer and traveller. Pierre Loti’s house is now closed for restoration and all the furniture and objects that were in the house were transferred to storerooms and laboratories for conservation and research. It was during this period that AKU-ISMC faculty member, Stéphane Pradines, studied Loti’s collection in Rochefort, from 2015 to 2018. This study provided two scientific events organised by Claude Stefani: an exhibition and a publication.

La Collection d’armes orientales de Pierre Loti is an exhibition catalogue published by the Mairie de Rochefort, Ministry of Culture and the Museum of Hébre with the support of the Fondation du Patrimoine, and the Arms and Armour Society in London. Around 80 objects are described in detail in the 159 page catalogue, including arms and armour from Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Balkans, Turkey, Caucasus, Central Asia, Persia and India. These objects are mainly Ottoman, Mughal and Qajar arms and essentially from the 18th - 19th Centuries. .

Stéphane Pradines is an archaeologist and Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. He was the Director of the excavations of the Walls of Saladin in Cairo and many other excavations in the Indian Ocean and East Africa. He is a specialist of the Indian Ocean medieval trade and material culture of war in Muslim Africa.

Claude Stefani is Conservateur du patrimoine, curator of the Hébre Museum and Director of Pierre Loti’s house in Rochefort. He is an archaeologist by training and graduated from the University of the Sorbonne. He is a specialist in North American archaeology and Oceanian art.

Time and Venue:
Monday 24 June 2019, 18.00-20.00
Aga Khan Centre,
10 Handyside Street,
London N1C 4DN



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