Patricia Blessing

Assistant Professor of Art and Archaeology
Islamic Art/Architectural History
(609) 258-5115
Email Address:
Office Location: 
2S-6B Green Hall


Ph.D., Princeton University 2012

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. Her first book, Rebuilding Anatolia after the Mongol Conquest: Islamic Architecture in the Lands of Rūm, 1240–1330 (Ashgate, 2014; Turkish translation Koç University Press, 2018) investigates the relationship between patronage, politics, and architectural style after the integration of the region into the Mongol empire.

Blessing’s second book, Architecture and Material Politics in the Fifteenth-century Ottoman Empire is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2022. In this book, Blessing explores the emergence of Ottoman architecture in the fifteenth century and its connection with broader geographical contexts. Analyzing how transregional exchange shaped building practices, she examines how workers from Anatolia, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and Iran and Central Asia participated in key construction projects. She also demonstrates how drawn, scalable models on paper served as templates for architectural decorations and supplemented collaborations that involved the mobility of workers. Blessing reveals how the creation of centralized workshops led to the emergence of a clearly defined imperial Ottoman style by 1500, when the flexibility and experimentation of the preceding century was levelled.

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, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation. She is the German Content Manager for Khamseen: Islamic Art History online, and the Managing Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture.

Current research

Blessing’s current work examines the intersection between textiles, architecture, and objects in late medieval Islamic architecture with a particular focus on interiors. She has published on this topic focusing on monuments in Spain, and is now researching it in architecture in the eastern Islamic world for her next book project. She is also working on two collaborative projects. The first, co-authored with Eiren L. Shea (Grinnell College) and Elizabeth Dospel Williams (Dumbarton Oaks), is a brief history of textiles in medieval Eurasia. The second, with Richard P. McClary (University of York) aims at the close analysis and digital reconstruction of a now-lost Saljuq palace structure in Konya, Turkey.

Teaching interests

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

Publications List: 
Selected Publications

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

“Inscribed Identities: Some Monumental Inscriptions in Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus,” in The Seljuqs and their Successors: Art, Culture and History, ed. Sheila Canby, Martina Rugiadi, and Deniz Beyazit (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020).

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

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

“The Vessel as Garden: The ‘Alhambra Vases’ and Sensory Perception in Nasrid Architecture,” in Sensory Reflections: Traces of Experience in Medieval Artifacts, ed. Fiona Griffiths and Kathryn Starkey (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018), 116-141.

“Seljuk Past and Timurid Present: Tile Decoration of the Yeşil Complex in Bursa, Turkey,” Gesta 56, no. 2 (Fall, 2017).

“From the Survey of Persian Art to the CIA: Donald N. Wilber and Ilkhanid Architecture in Iran,” in Historiography of Persian Architecture, ed. Mohammad Gharipour (New York and London: Routledge, 2016).

“Medieval Monuments from Empire to Nation-State: Beyond Armenian and Islamic Architecture in the South Caucasus (1180-1300),” The Medieval South Caucasus: Artistic Cultures of Albania, Armenia, and Georgia, ed. Ivan Foletti and Erik Thunø, Convivium: Exchanges and Interactions in the Arts of Medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Mediterranean, Seminarium Kondakovianum (Supplementum 2016).

“Friedrich Sarre and the Discovery of Seljuk Anatolia,” Journal of Art Historiography 11 (December, 2014).