Islamic Art the Context for Development of a New Brand Culture and Civilization

  May 30, 2021   Read time 2 min
Islamic Art the Context for Development of a New Brand Culture and Civilization
The phrase Islamic arts refers to the arts practiced by the vast populations of the Middle East and elsewhere that adopted the Islamic faith from the 7th century onward. These adherents of the faith have created such an immense variety of arts that it virtually defines any comprehensive definition.

Here our discussion includes the arts created in pre-Islamic times by Arabs and other peoples in Asia Minor and North Africa who eventually adopted the Islamic faith. It focuses largely on literature, calligraphy, and architecture. Representation of living beings is prohibited—not in the Qur’an but in the prophetic tradition of Islam. Thus, the centre of the Islamic artistic tradition lies in calligraphy, a distinguishing feature of this culture, in which the word as the medium of divine revelation plays such an important role. Representational art was found, however, in some early palaces and “at the doors of the bathhouses,”according to later Persian poetry.

After the 13th century a highly refined art of miniature developed, primarily in the non-Arab countries; it dwells, however, only rarely upon religious subjects. The typical expression of Muslim art is the arabesque , a style of decoration characterized by intertwining plants and abstract curvilinear motifs, both in its geometric and in its vegetabilic form—one leaf, one fl ower growing out of the other, without beginning and end and capable of almost innumerable variations—only gradually detected by the eye—that never lose their charm. An aversion to empty spaces distinguishes that art; neither the tile-covered walls of a mosque nor the rich imagery of a poem allows an unembellished area; and the decoration of a carpet can be extended almost without limit. The centre of Islamic religion is the clean place for prayer, enlarged into the mosque , which comprises the community and all its needs.

The essential structure is similar throughout the Muslim world. There are, of course, period and regional differences—large, wide court mosques of early times; court mosques, with big halls, of Iran and adjacent countries; central buildings with the wonderfully shaped domes of the Ottoman Empire. The implements, however, are the same: a niche (mihrab)— pointing to Mecca—made of wood, marble, mosaic, stone, and tiles; a small pulpit for the Friday sermon; minarets, locally differently shaped but always rising like the call to prayer ( adhan ) that is uttered from their tops; the wooden carved stands for the Qur’an, which is to be written in the most perfect form; sometimes highly artistic lamps (made in Syria and proverbially mentioned all over the Muslim world); perhaps bronze candlesticks, with inlaid ornaments; and rich variations of the prayer mats. If any decoration was needed, it was the words of God, beautifully written or carved in the walls or around the domes

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