Lee Lawrence

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Based in Brooklyn, NY, Lee Lawrence writes frequently on Islamic and Asian art for the Wall Street Journal and cultural affairs for The Christian Science Monitor.

Articles by Lee Lawrence

Why Collectors Matter: A Conversation with Arts of South Asia’s Coeditors

Why Collectors Matter: A Conversation with Arts of South Asia’s Coeditors

In Arts of South Asia: Cultures of Collecting, coeditors Allysa B. Peyton and Katherine Ann Paul draw us into the personal, institutional and political dynamics surrounding objects that have journeyed from South Asia India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan to museums abroad and, in one case, undergone repatriation.
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Was Enheduanna the World’s First Author?

Was Enheduanna the World’s First Author?

Four thousand years ago she was a princess and high priestess in the Sumerian city of Ur in modern-day Iraq. She was also a poet whose verses scribes wrote down in cuneiform on clay tablets and then did something new: They attributed the work to her by name—and now Enheduanna is more famous than ever.

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Mesopotamia’s Art of the Seal

Mesopotamia’s Art of the Seal

Compact in size yet complex in the scenes they depict, stone cylinders—many no larger than your thumb—were a popular medium for Mesopotamian artisans talented enough to reverse-carve semiprecious stones and produce unique, often mythological tableaux in astonishingly sensitive, naturalistic detail. Their craft gave each seal’s owner a personalized graphic signature for use with the most popular media channel of the third millennium BCE: damp clay. Seal impressions certified ownership, validated origins, attested to debts, secured against theft and more. Many seal cylinders were drilled so they could be strung and carried as amulets and status symbols—uses that may find echoes among today’s compact, personalized communication devices.
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Astrolabe Tech Made ... Not So Easy

Astrolabe Tech Made ... Not So Easy

About the size of a tablet computer, astrolabes were tools of astronomers, surveyors and navigators, to name a few. But using them took a lot more than typing, tapping and swiping.
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The Art Bridge

The Art Bridge

How does art influence our attitudes toward the cultures artists come from and express? To find out, we looked at a children’s museum, a public mural, an online comedy and a touring hip-hop quartet.
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