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Islam spread rapidly after its founding, encompassing much of Africa, Europe, and Asia. The art of this vast region draws its distinctive character both.

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Presentation on theme: "Islam spread rapidly after its founding, encompassing much of Africa, Europe, and Asia. The art of this vast region draws its distinctive character both."— Presentation transcript:

1 Islam spread rapidly after its founding, encompassing much of Africa, Europe, and Asia. The art of this vast region draws its distinctive character both from Islam itself and from the diverse cultural traditions of the world’s Muslims. Islamic Art

2 Categories of Islamic Art Architecture Calligraphy Textiles (carpets) Manuscript illumination Ceramics (tile) Gardens There is confusion about what is prohibited in Islamic art. You may have encountered this issue last year. Let’s consider two sources. As powerful societies moved to expand their empires, Turkish, Persian, Mongol, and Arab ways of life blended. The result was a flowering of Islamic culture that peaked in the 16 th century.

3 Marilyn Stokstad, in Art History: A prohibition against depicting representational images in religious art, as well as the naturally decorative nature of Arabic script, led to the use of calligraphic decoration on religious architecture, carpets, and handwritten documents. Because Islam discouraged the use of figurative images, particularly in religious contexts—unlike Christian art of the same period—Islamic artists developed a rich vocabulary of aniconic, or nonfigural, ornament that is a hallmark of Islamic work. This vocabulary includes complex geometric patterns and the scrolling vines known outside the Islamic world as arabesques. Figural representation, to the extent it was permitted (which varied from time to time and place to place), first developed most prominently in regions with strong pre-Islamic figural traditions, such as those that had been under the control of the Byzantine and Roman empires. Marilyn Stokstad, in Art History: A prohibition against depicting representational images in religious art, as well as the naturally decorative nature of Arabic script, led to the use of calligraphic decoration on religious architecture, carpets, and handwritten documents. Because Islam discouraged the use of figurative images, particularly in religious contexts—unlike Christian art of the same period—Islamic artists developed a rich vocabulary of aniconic, or nonfigural, ornament that is a hallmark of Islamic work. This vocabulary includes complex geometric patterns and the scrolling vines known outside the Islamic world as arabesques. Figural representation, to the extent it was permitted (which varied from time to time and place to place), first developed most prominently in regions with strong pre-Islamic figural traditions, such as those that had been under the control of the Byzantine and Roman empires.

4 from PBS website for Islam: Empire of Faith It is often said that Islam bans images of people or animals, but this is false. The Koran itself has very little to say on the subject and the Traditions of the Prophet are open to various interpretations. As Muslims believe that God is unique and without associate, He cannot of course be represented. As He is worshipped directly without intercessors, images of saints, as in Christian or Buddhist art, have no place in Islam. As the Koran is not a narrative like the Torah or the Gospels, there is little reason for Muslims to tell religious stories through pictures. continued... from PBS website for Islam: Empire of Faith It is often said that Islam bans images of people or animals, but this is false. The Koran itself has very little to say on the subject and the Traditions of the Prophet are open to various interpretations. As Muslims believe that God is unique and without associate, He cannot of course be represented. As He is worshipped directly without intercessors, images of saints, as in Christian or Buddhist art, have no place in Islam. As the Koran is not a narrative like the Torah or the Gospels, there is little reason for Muslims to tell religious stories through pictures. continued...

5 Instead, Islamic religious art has focused on the glorification of God's word, specifically by writing it beautifully, and accompanying the Arabic script with geometric and floral designs known as arabesques, in which plants grow according to the laws of geometry rather than nature. Some people believe that these designs have deep spiritual and mystical meaning, while others believe they are simply beautiful patterns. Believers are free to see in these designs whatever they like — this sense of ambiguity is one of the hallmarks of Islamic art. Examples of religious art range from beautifully calligraphied manuscripts of the Koran to intricately carved and inlaid pulpits or minbars, from which the Friday sermon is given in the mosque. continued... Instead, Islamic religious art has focused on the glorification of God's word, specifically by writing it beautifully, and accompanying the Arabic script with geometric and floral designs known as arabesques, in which plants grow according to the laws of geometry rather than nature. Some people believe that these designs have deep spiritual and mystical meaning, while others believe they are simply beautiful patterns. Believers are free to see in these designs whatever they like — this sense of ambiguity is one of the hallmarks of Islamic art. Examples of religious art range from beautifully calligraphied manuscripts of the Koran to intricately carved and inlaid pulpits or minbars, from which the Friday sermon is given in the mosque. continued...

6 Islamic secular art, on the other hand, might or might not have representations of living beings, depending on the local cultural traditions and the preferences of the artist and patron. For example, North Africans have generally shown little taste for images, while Iranians have always enjoyed them, sometimes even in religious settings. Much of Islamic secular art, like religious art, is decorated only with geometric and vegetal patterns and inscriptions, but many objects, whether glazed ceramics, carved ivories, intricately woven silks, or luxurious carpets, are decorated with lively human and animal figures set individually or in scenes. Unlike much Christian art, which largely developed for the use of the Church, Islamic secular art has been characterized by the transformation of everyday objects, whether bowls for eating or carpets and cushions to sit on, into things of transcendent beauty. continued... Islamic secular art, on the other hand, might or might not have representations of living beings, depending on the local cultural traditions and the preferences of the artist and patron. For example, North Africans have generally shown little taste for images, while Iranians have always enjoyed them, sometimes even in religious settings. Much of Islamic secular art, like religious art, is decorated only with geometric and vegetal patterns and inscriptions, but many objects, whether glazed ceramics, carved ivories, intricately woven silks, or luxurious carpets, are decorated with lively human and animal figures set individually or in scenes. Unlike much Christian art, which largely developed for the use of the Church, Islamic secular art has been characterized by the transformation of everyday objects, whether bowls for eating or carpets and cushions to sit on, into things of transcendent beauty. continued...

7 Given the Islamic fascination with God's word, the art of the book has always been one of the favorite forms of Islamic art, and calligraphers in the Islamic lands have the fame accorded painters and sculptors in the West. Although transcribing the Koran and decorating the pages with beautiful designs was always revered, calligraphers and painters, particularly in Iran, India and Turkey, also prepared manuscripts of epic and lyric poetry, history and geography with beautiful calligraphy and exquisite miniatures.

8 Sinan the Great, the Selimiye Cami (mosque of Selim), Edirne, Turkey

9 Interior of Selimiye Mosque

10 The Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul What are some hallmarks of Islamic Architecture? How do they differ/ are similar to Renaissance Architecture?

11 Mosque of Masjid-I Shah, Isfahan, Iran ( )

12 Taj Mahal, Agra, India,

13 Illuminated tugra of Sultan Suleyman, Istanbul (c ) Tugra- official signature of the sultan, to be used on official documents for political business.

14 Calligraphic illumination of a page of poetry, Iran, 16 th century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

15 Arabic Calligraphy on large pishtaq of the Taj Mahal

16 Animal Carpet, Turkey, 14th -15th century, Metropolitan Museum, New York

17 Prayer carpet with the Kaaba, Turkey 18 th century. The Kaaba: a black stone building in Mecca that is shaped like a cube and that is the most sacred Muslim pilgrim shrine; believed to have been given by Gabriel to Abraham; Muslims turn in its direction when praying

18 Garden carpet, from central Persia. 17 th century. Persia was the geographic location of what Muslim Gunpowder dynasty?

19 Safavid Carpet, Kashan, Persia, 17th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

20 Mughal Rug, North India, 18th century, Christies New York

21 The Caliph Harun al- Rashid Visits the Turkish Bath, from a later copy of the Khamsa (Five Poems) of Nizami, Iran, 1494.

22 Laila and Majnun at School, miniature from a manuscript of the Khamsa (poems) of Nizami,

23 Knights jousting, from a book of veterinary medicine, Egypt, 14 th century.

24 Mosaic tile decoration of a mihrab, Isfahan, Persia,1354. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Mihrab- area on prayer rug that points in the direction of Mecca.

25 Dome of Masjid-I Shah, Isfahan, Iran ( )

26 The Persian Garden has certainly survived into the post-Islamic era. The basis of such a design was built into the pavilion of Shah Abbas the Great (r – 1629 AD) of the Safavid dynasty ( AD).

27 Safavid Garden Palace of Hasht Behesht (The Eight Paradises), Isfahan, Iran.

28 Mughal gardens are a group of gardens built by the Mughals in the Islamic style of architecture. This style was influenced by Persian gardens and Timurid gardens. Significant use of rectilinear layouts are made within the walled enclosures. Some of the typical features include pools, fountains and canals inside the gardens. Mughal gardens at Taj Mahal

29 Shalimar Gardens, Lahore, Pakistan

30 Shalimar Gardens, Kashmir

31 Flower Detail from Shahdara Garden The Emperor Shah Jahan Standing on a Globe


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