Mayer, Leo Ary

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MAYER, LEO ARY (1895–1959), Orientalist. Born in Stanislav (Austrian Poland), he settled in Palestine in 1921 and was successively inspector of antiquities and librarian and keeper of records for the Department of Antiquities. In 1925 he was appointed lecturer in the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From 1932 to 1958 he was professor of Near Eastern art and archaeology there. He held numerous positions: head of the Institute of Oriental Studies; dean of the faculty of humanities; rector of the Hebrew University (1943–45); president of the Israel Exploration Society (1940–59); and president of the Israel Oriental Society. With E.L. Sukenik, he excavated the Third Wall of Jerusalem and with A. Reifenberg the Eshtemoa synagogue. Mayer specialized in Islamic art, costume, epigraphy, and numismatics. His published works include Saracenic Heraldry (1933), Mamluk Costume (1952), bibliographies of Jewish art and numismatics, and a comprehensive work on Muslim artists, Islamic Architects and Their Works (1956). A museum of Islamic art and culture in Jerusalem was named after him.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

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