Published between 1906 and 1930, and with a readership that stretched from Morocco to Iran, Molla Nasreddin is perhaps the most important Muslim magazine of the twentieth century. Throughout its beautifully printed pages, issues of social, cultural and political relevance were debated, embellished with cartoons and illustrations of marvelous graphic power. Under the editorship of Jalil Mammadguluzadeh, the magazine created anew the complex identity of the Caucasus region, attacking the Muslim clergy and the colonial policies of the U.S. and Europe, while arguing for democratic and educational reform and women's rights. This thoroughly researched volume, itself superbly designed in its presentation of this archival material, gathers a selection of iconic covers, clever illustrations and witty caricatures from Molla Nasreddin, curated by the Eurasian artist collective Slavs and Tatars. It reveals a rich world of print culture hitherto unseen in the west.
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Here a selection of illustrations is presented by the artist group Slavs and Tatars, whose own sardonic work uses the concept of Eurasia as a critical platform. While the collective may not agree with the original reform-minded editors' faith in secular Western modernity, the book's full color reproductions, with Azeri and English captions, reveal how many of the issues remain poignantly relevant today. (Olivier Krischer ArtAsiaPacific 2012-03-01)
" Slavs and Tartars' most ambitious project to date, the publication of Molla Nasreddin: the magazine that would've could've should've (JRP|Ringier, Zürich, 2010), and edited, and translated, reprinting of 300 cartoons from the nearly 5,000 that originally appeared in Molla Nasreddin, an early 20th-century Azeri magazine. Famed for its satirical illustrations in the manner of the 19th-century French characturist Honoré Daumier, Molla Nasreddin was published from 1906 to 1931 in the Caucasus and read from the Azeri communities in Northern Iran all the way to Morrocco and India. Named for the 13th-century Sufi wise-fool Nasreddin, who is still known throughout West and Central Asia for his humorous folk wisdom " (HG Masters ArtAsiaPacific Magazine 2011-09-14)
"A complete understanding of the multiple targets of satire in the wonderfully reproduced color illustrations in this book requires more than an elementary knowledge of the history of this region during the first three decades of the 20th century. To give an idea of the range of subject matter presented: landlords and peasants, marriage and class, women's rights and education, interethnic group rivalries, the Russian, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, sacred and secular, Muslims and Christians. Editorial commentary and translations of the actual captions from the five languages that appear in the texts-Azeri Turkish, Russian, Farsi, Istanbulli Turkish and Arabic-go part the way to educate the reader; but many of the subscribers to the magazine were illiterate. As intended, the pictures tell the rest of the story most convincingly." (Don J. Cohn ArtAsiaPacific magazine 2011-09-14)
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