On Saturday, 16th November, Dr Karen C Pinto, a professor at Boise State University’s College of Innovation and Design and an eminent medieval Islamic maps expert visited Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Karachi.
Dr Pinto delivered a talk to students and faculty on the topic of medieval Islamic maps where she explained their prominent characteristics and distinctive features. She spoke of the tendency for such maps to be oriented to the South, the concept of an encircling ocean and the symbolism of birds. Having studied and collected over 3000 medieval maps, her expertise and breadth of knowledge were apparent as she delivered a riveting lecture.
She also introduced the audience to her monumental medieval map classification project, a website named MIME (Medieval Islamic Maps Encyclopedia).
After her talk, Dr Pinto toured the campus and took great interest in the Kufic calligraphy which features prominently throughout. During her visit to the library and rare books section, she took special interest in a manuscript which contained Fatimi scripts, comparing them in detail to a similar script she had come across in her research. She was kind enough to sign the library’s copy of her publication titled Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration. Before her departure, Dr Pinto joined faculty members and students for lunch in a traditional Bohra thāl.