WorkAbstract: J. G. Lorimer’s Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia has long been used as a central source for the study of the region. Yet, it is essential to understand the contexts of its production in order to fully appreciate its content. It has long been pointed out that John Gordon Lorimer’s encyclopaedic 5000 page Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf , Oman and Central Arabia is ‘without peer’, providing ‘a source on subjects as diverse as political narratives, economy, slavery, telegraphs and tribal gazetteers’. Although scholars and researchers mine the content of the Gazetteer – or ‘Lorimer’ as it is simply referred to – for information, often little attention is paid to the colonial context in which that knowledge was produced.
WorkAbstract: Cultural appropriation was as much a part of empire as military force. The use of ‘Islamic’ seals by British colonial officials is one example of this. In his record of nineteenth century Egyptian society, Edward William Lane wrote that ‘[a]lmost every person who can afford it has a seal-ring, even though he be a servant’. The function of seals as symbols of textual authority and ownership is deeply rooted in the Islamic world, especially in Arabic and Persian-speaking societies. Historically, seals were used for authorising various documents, including letters and legal contracts, and for marking the ownership of books and manuscripts.