Dr Farouk Yahya

Email: farouk.yahya@ashmus.ox.ac.uk
Twitter: @FaroukCat


Research summary
My research interests cover the art and material culture of the Islamic world and of Southeast Asia. My main focus is on illustrated and illuminated manuscripts, particularly those relating to magic and divination especially in the Malay-speaking area.

At the Ashmolean I am part of a two-year research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust on ‘Divination and Art in the Medieval and Early Modern Islamic World’, directed by Dr. Francesca Leoni. Within this role I was involved with the exhibition ‘Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural’ at the Ashmolean Museum (20 October 2016 – 15 January 2017), and an international conference also at the Ashmolean entitled ‘Islamic Occultism in Theory and Practice’ (6-8 January 2017).
In addition I am interested in Southeast Asian Buddhist art, as well as cross-cultural exchanges between Southeast Asia and the wider world.


Farouk Yahya is Leverhulme Research Assistant – Islamic Art and Culture at the Ashmolean Museum.

Dr. Yahya studied at SOAS University of London, where he completed an MA in the History of Art and/or Archaeology specialising in Islamic Art (2006), and a PhD with a thesis on Malay magic and divination manuscripts (2013). He is also a Postdoctoral Research Associate at SOAS and was a Senior Teaching Fellow there, during which he created and taught an MA course on Southeast Asian illustrated manuscripts. Dr. Yahya was also Assistant Curator for the exhibitions ‘Gifts of Recognition: Modern and Contemporary Art from the SOAS Collections’ (2012) and The Arts of Southeast Asia from the SOAS Collections’ (2014-16), both at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS.


Featured publications   

  • 2017 The Wheel Diagram in the Malay Divinatory Technique of the Faal Qur’anIndonesia and the Malay World 45: 200-25.
  • 2017 (editor), The Arts of Southeast Asia from the SOAS Collections (Penang: Areca Books).
  • 2017 Western Depictions of Southeast Asian Music, in Celebrating Art and Music - The SOAS Collections, ed. Anna Contadini (London: SOAS), 124-57.
  • 2016 Jimat in Form of a Ship [cat.105], in Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural, ed. Francesca Leoni (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum), 36–7.
  • 2016 Magic and Divination in Malay Illustrated Manuscripts (Leiden: Brill). 
  • 2015 An Illustrated Malay Manuscript of the Rejang Calendar in the Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia (MS 291), Jurnal Filologi Melayu 22, 115-40.
  • 2015 No. 28: Kitab Ubat-ubat dan Azimat, No. 50: Hikayat Hang Tuah, No. 51: Treatise on Divination, in ‘A Jawi Sourcebook for the Study of Malay Palaeography and Orthography’, ed. Annabel Gallop, Indonesia and the Malay World 125: 94-5, 138-41. 
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