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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Fahmida Suleman

Phyllis Bishop curator for the Modern Middle East

Department: Middle East


+44 (0)20 7323 8474 (Bloomsbury)
+44 (0)20 7602 1394 (Blythe House)


Fahmida is a curator responsible for the Museum’s outstanding collection of ethnographic objects and textiles from the Middle East and Central Asia. Her area covers traditional dress and textiles, amulets, jewellery, pottery, metalwork, and other artefacts of daily life.

She has a particular interest in religious iconography and is also investigating the silver jewellery traditions of the Arabian Peninsula.

Fahmida is currently working on the British Museum’s collection of twentieth-century Omani silver jewellery. She is also researching the costumes and textiles from the Middle East and Central Asia for a future publication.

She has a degree in Islamic and Religious Studies from the University of Toronto and obtained her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Islamic Art and Archaeology from Oxford University. Her Master’s thesis focussed on nineteenth-century Gujarati-inspired architecture in the Stone Town of Zanzibar, Tanzania, and her Doctoral thesis investigated the multi-valent iconography of lustre ceramics from eleventh-century Fatimid Egypt.

Fahmida is currently working on a forthcoming publication focussing on the British Museum’s renowned collection of textiles from the Middle East and Central Asia (BM Press, 2016).

Current projects

Middle East and Central Asian Textiles Today. (forthcoming publication, 2016)

People of the Prophet’s House: Artistic and Ritual Expressions of Shi‘i Islam. (forthcoming publication, 2014)

Jewellery traditions and silversmiths of Southern Oman.

Previous projects

Adornment and Identity: Silver Jewellery from Oman. Exhibition, 21 January 2011. See video: www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/past_exhibitions/2011/adornment_and_identity.aspx

Shah ‘Abbas: The Remaking of Iran. Exhibition, February 2009

People of the Prophet’s House: Art, Architecture and Shi‘ism in the Islamic World. Conference, March 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Fantastic Creatures in Islamic Art. Gallery 34 Display, April 2008

Word of God, Art of Man: The Qur’an and its Creative Expressions. Conference, October 2003

Princes, Poets and Paladins: Islamic and Indian Paintings from the Collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan. Exhibition, February 1998

Safavid Art and Architecture. Conference, April 1998

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Academic Advisory Board Member, The Art of Heritage Project on Traditional Dress from Saudi Arabia in collaboration with the London Middle East Institute, SOAS

Editorial Board Member, Art History (Journal)

Member, Islamic Art Circle, UK

Recent publications

F. Suleman, ed.,“People of the Prophet’s House: Artistic and Ritual Expressions of Shi‘i Islam”, in Azimuth Editions in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies and the British Museum, forthcoming, 2014.

F. Suleman, “Making Love not War: The Iconography of the Cockfight in Medieval Egypt”, in Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art, eds. F. Leoni and M. Natif, Ashgate, 2013, pp. 19-42.

F. Suleman, “Islamic Art at the British Museum: Strategies and Perspectives”, in Islamic Art and the Museum - Approaches to Art and Archaeology of the Muslim World in the Twenty-First Century, eds. B. Junod, G. Khalil, S. Weber, G. Wolf, Saqi Books, 2013, pp. 276-284.

F. Suleman, “The Image of ‘Ali as the Lion of God in Shi‘i Art and Material Culture”, in The Art and Material Culture of Iranian Shiism: Iconography and Religious Devotion in Shi‘i Islam, ed. P. Khosronejad, IB Tauris, 2012, pp. 215-232.

A. Mongiatti, F. Suleman, and N. Meeks, “Beauty and Belief: the Endangered Tradition of Omani Silver Jewellery”, in The British Museum Technical Research Bulletin, Vol. 5 (2011), Archetype Publications, pp. 1-14. https://www.britishmuseum.org/pdf/BMTRB_5_Mongiatti_Suleman_and_Meeks.pdf

F. Suleman, “Epigraphy and Inscriptions on Objects”, in Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Arts of the Book and Calligraphy, Sakip Sabanci Museum and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 2010, pp. 64-71.

F. Suleman, “Art”, in A Companion to Muslim Ethics, ed. A. Sajoo, IB Tauris and The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2010, pp. 91-104.

F. Suleman, “From Shards to Bards: Pottery Making in Historic Cairo”, in Living in Historic Cairo: Past and Present in an Islamic City, eds. F. Daftary, E. F. Fernea and A. Nanji, The Institute of Ismaili Studies and Azimuth Editions in association with Washington University Press, 2010, pp. 133-144.

F. Suleman, “Selected Stories from the Anvar-i Suhayli”, a digitized manuscript project, The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 2009.

F. Suleman, “How to Dress Cool in 17th-Century Iran”, in REMUS Magazine, British Museum, 2009.

F. Suleman, Contributions on “Art and Architecture of the Fatimids”, in An Illustrated History of the Ismailis, eds. F. Daftary and Z. Hirji, The Institute of Ismaili Studies and Azimuth Editions, 2008.

F. Suleman, ed., “Word of God, Art of Man: the Qur’an and its Creative Expressions. Selected Proceedings from the International Colloquium, London, 18-21 October 2003”, Oxford University Press and The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2007.

F. Suleman, “Ceramics”, “Gifts and Gift Giving”, and “Kalila wa Dimna”, in Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopaedia, ed. J. Meri, Routledge, 2006, Volume 1, pp. 143-5, 295-6 and 432-3.

F. Suleman, Reflections of the Fatimids (Documentary Video), The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 2000.