Patricia Blessing

Associate Professor

Patricia Blessing specializes in the art and architecture of the Islamic world, with a focus on the eastern Mediterranean from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. In her current book project, Spaces of Artifice: Interiors and the Environment in Islamic Architecture, Blessing analyses interior spaces in relationship to nature, with an emphasis on water. While gardens within the Islamic world have been studied in great detail, less attention has been devoted to the ways in which nature is allowed to permeate buildings, and how it becomes part of interior spaces. For instance, buildings often contain water features, both indoors and in liminal courtyard spaces, supplied by aqueducts, cisterns, and open domes that allow rain water to enter. Embracing eco-critical approaches, the project contends that such water features are integral parts of the buildings’ interiors, and of the relationship between architecture and the world at large.

Blessing is the author of two books, Rebuilding Anatolia after the Mongol Conquest: Islamic Architecture in the Lands of Rūm, 1240–1330 (Ashgate, 2014; Turkish translation Koç University Press, 2018) and Architecture and Material Politics in the Fifteenth-century Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2022). With Eiren L. Shea (Grinnell College) and Elizabeth Dospel Williams (Dumbarton Oaks), Blessing co-authored Medieval Textiles across Eurasia, c. 300-1400 CE, Cambridge Elements series on the Global Middle Ages, ed. Geraldine Heng and Susan Noakes (Cambridge University Press, 2023) brief introduction to the study of textiles in a primarily online format. She is the co-editor of Architecture and Landscape in Medieval Anatolia, 1100-1500, with Rachel Goshgarian (Edinburgh University Press, 2017); Textile in Architecture: From the Middle Ages to Modernity, with Didem Ekici and Basile Baudez (Routledge, 2023) and The Making of Modern Muslim Selves Through Architecture, with Farhan S. Karim (Intellect, 2023). Blessing’s articles on topics ranging from funerary architecture in medieval Anatolia to stucco and textiles in Islamic and Christian monuments in Spain have been published in journals such as Muqarnas, Gesta, and Studies in Iconography, and many edited volumes.

Blessing has received fellowships from the British Academy, the Society of Architectural Historians, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the International Center of Medieval Art, the Barakat Trust, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and ANAMED Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Istanbul. She is the German and French Content Manager for Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, and the Managing Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture.

Teaching interests

Blessing’s teaching interests include the multi-sensory experience of spaces and objects; medieval and early modern Islamic architecture; the politics of urban space in the modern Middle East; heritage preservation and Islamic archaeology; and style as a tool of art historical investigation. 

Selected publications

Architecture and Material Politics in the Fifteenth-century Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022).

Rebuilding Anatolia after the Mongol Conquest: Islamic Architecture in the Lands of Rūm, 1240-1330, Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies 17 (Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishers, 2014). Translated into Turkish as Moğol Fethinden Sonra Anadolu’nun Yeniden İnşası: Rum Diyarında İslami Mimari, 1240-1330 (Istanbul: Koç University Press, 2018).

Patricia Blessing, Elizabeth Dospel Williams, and Eiren L. Shea, Medieval Textiles across Eurasia, c. 300-1400 CE (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

Patricia Blessing and Rachel Goshgarian, ed. Architecture and Landscape in Medieval Anatolia, 1100-1500 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Patricia Blessing and Richard P. McClary, “Reimagining Royal Space: The Qilij Arslan II Kiosk in Konya and its Lost Interior,” special issue on digital humanities, edited by Nora E. Barakat, Yunus Uğur, and Ali Yaycıoğlu, Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 9.2 (September, 2022 [published summer 2023]): 153-158.

“Fiber Fragments: The Divided Histories of Medieval Islamic Textiles,” in Deconstructing the Myths of Islamic Art, ed. Samuel Bowker, Xenia Gazi, and Onur Öztürk (New York: Routledge, 2022), 77-90.

“Blue-and-White Tiles of the Muradiye in Edirne: Architectural Decoration between Tabriz, Damascus, and Cairo,” Muqarnas 36 (2019): 101-129.

“Weaving on the Wall: Architecture and Textiles in the Monastery of Las Huelgas in Burgos,” Studies in Iconography 40 (2019): 137-182.


Room 339

Research Interests