Islamic Art Online
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Islamic Art Online

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Islamic Art Online Islamic Art Online Presentation Transcript

  • Islamic Art
  • Historical Background:
    The Prophet Mohammed was born in Arabia in 570 CE, at the height of the Byzantine Empire. A trader, married to a wealthy widow, he experiences a spiritual awakening in his early middle age, receiving the word of God (Quran) from the angel Gabriel. He begins preaching in Mecca, criticizing the wealthiest residents who benefit most from the pilgrimages made by pagan Arabs to visit the idols housed in the Kaaba, built by Abraham. He’s forced to flee from Mecca (flight known as the Hegira) and goes to Medina, where his preaching gathers followers. Becoming both a spiritual and temporal military leader, he gathers his forces and returns to conquer Mecca in the first Holy War, in the name of Allah. He preaches submission to God, equality of all before God, strict monotheism, obedience to God's requirements: prayers facing Mecca 5x/day, fasting during Ramadan, giving alms to the poor, pilgrimage to Mecca (if possible) once during lifetime, following dietary restrictions. Islam becomes the fastest-growing religion in world history.
  • 5 Pillars of Islam
    Declaration of Faith
    Prayer (salat)
    Zacat or Tithe
    The Fast of Ramadan (9th month of the Islamic calendar)
    Pilgrimage
  • Dedication of Faith
    There is no god but God (Allah) and Muhammed is his Prophet
    To become a Muslim one need only make this simple declaration of faith
    Islam has absolute Monotheism
    Mohammed transmits the direct word of God
    Unlike Christ, Muhammed, while the perfect man is not divine – the preeminent role model
  • Prayer (Salat)
    5 times a day (daybreak, noon, mid-afternoon, evening, sunset)
    Alone or together, indoors or out
    Preferable to pray with others, demonstrating brotherhood
    Face Mecca when praying, toward the Kaaba (house of God believed to have been built by Abraham and Ismail)
    Once a week on Friday, gather for the Sabbath at a mosque or Islamic center
  • Zakat or Tithe
    Means “purification”
    Individual and communal responsibility to care for the poor
    Not veiwed as Charity; it is an obligation
    Functions as a form of social security
  • The fast of Ramadan
    Once a year in the 9th month of the Islamic calendar
    Represents the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammed
    IF health permits – abstain from food, drink and sexual activity from dawn to sunset
    A discipline to stimulate religious reflection
    Ends with a special feast (resembles Christmas with gifts, food, etc.)
  • Haji or the Pilgrimage
    At least once in a lifetime (if able) to Mecca
    Every year more than 2,000,000 make the journey to form a community of faith
    Pilgrims wear simple clothing to symbolize purity
    The Eid al-Adha occurs toward the end: The Feast of the Sacrifice
  • The Kaaba
    • an ancient stone structure that was built and re-built by prophets as a house of monotheistic worship
    • located inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
    • 15 meters high and 10-12 meters wide.
    • an ancient, simple structure made of granite
    • serves as a focal and unifying point among the Muslim people
    According to the Qur'an, the Ka'aba was built by the prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael as a house of monotheistic worship
  • Islamic Architecture
    Built to accommodate as many worshippers as possible in prostrate position: Communal Prayer
    No elaborate ritual with a center of visual attention (like an altar)
    Emphasizes horizontality as opposed to verticality (Christian Churches).
    Roofed part held up by a combination of arches/columns called a hypostyle hall.
    Worshipers face Mecca. Wall opposite entrance faces Mecca (quibla).
    Quibla usually marked by a niche (often domed) called a mihrab.
    Ornamentation prohibits use of graven images (no 3-D forms of humans or animals)
    Decorations utilize patterns of:
    1. Geometric figures
    2. Intertwining plant forms
    3. Calligraphy of Arabic quotations from Quran.
    Exterior has at least one minaret, up which the muezzin climbs to call for prayer.
  • The Dome of the Rock
    691
  • The Night Journey of Muhammad on His Steed, Buraq; leaf from a copy of the Bustan of Sacdi, dated 1514. From Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
    • Built on the site of the first Temple of Solomon
    • earliest still-extant Muslim structure
    • built by Caliph Abd al-Malik in 691
    • represents the Muslims' acquisition of a near-complete Romano-Byzantine architectural program
    • atypical Islamic religious structure
    • makes use of the pointed arch, which was later used in Romanesque churches
  • Islamic Art
    Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
    Houses the rock from which it is said Mohammed ascended to heaven
    Octagonal plan
    Inspired by centrally planned churches
    Commanding view of the dome raised on a drum
    Profusion of exterior and interior decoration
    Calligraphy
    Arabesque
    Tessellation
    Inspired by rounded Roman arches, but adding alternating striped stones
  • The Alhambra, 1338 - 1390
  • Islamic Architecture
    The Alhambra, Granada
    Originally a military fortification
    Later reconstructed as a palace
    Slender columns set inside walls and abut window frames
    Finely chiseled marble gives the effect of transparency
    Marble cut in honeycomb pattern on ceiling
    Stone inset in ceilings hangs like stalactites, and double sets of windows provide light
    Small bubbling fountains provide relief
    Canals pass water among the buildings
    Calligraphy
    Arabesque
    Tessellation
    Major emphasis on mathematics and symmetry
  • Escher's Sketch of the tessellations in Alhambra, Spain
  • Court of the Lions
    • Fountain surrounded by lions, demonstrating some secular use of animal forms.
    • Lion form derives from lamassu.
    • Lions are crudely carved, indicating infrequency with subject in art.
    • Poem carved in fountain rim describing how fierce the lions would be if not out of respect for the king.
  • Great Mosque, Córdoba, 786
  • Built by 'Abd al-Rahman I, who escaped from Syria to the Iberian Peninsula after his family was massacred by a rival political dynasty circa 750 by he Abassid revolt. Only surviving member of the Ummayyad dynasty. – 800 family members massacred at peace banquet
    Consecrated as a Christian Cathedral in 1236 by Ferdinand III, king of Castille
  • Islamic Art
    Great Mosque, Córdoba, begun in 786
    An infinite sea of columns on the interior (columns harvested from existing Roman and Visigothic buildings.
    Short columns (c. 9 feet) necessitated 2-tiered arches to raise ceiling and increase light.
    Columns interlace with each other
    Columns have capitals, but no bases
    Arches are rounded, with alternating stripes (red brick and white marble)
    Columns represent endless number of worshippers
    All face the mihrab
    Rich, varied visual effects & highly decorative
  • Hypostyle Hall in Cordoba
  • The Taj Mahal
    1640 - 43
  • Islamic Architecture
    The Taj Mahal, Agra 1632-48
    Burial place of Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to her 14th child
    Enclosed by a large red sandstone wall to provide a focused view
    Vast symbolic image of Islamic paradise
    Symmetrical
    Harmonious
    Minarets act to balance the composition
    Typical of Islamic architecture: one large central arch, framed by two smaller arches one above the other
    Square plan with chamfered corners
    Small kiosks around dome
    Dome has an onion shape (ancestry in the Byzantine empire)
    Intricate floral and geometric inlays
    Calligraphy across façade and on interior
  • Great Mosque at Damascus, 705-711
    • The earliest Muslim building on a gigantic scale
    • Built inside the fortified outer enclosure of a Roman sanctuary
    • Had been a Christian church until caliph al-Walid I, demolished and used the material
    • The square corner towers are the earliest known minarets – became common feature on many mosques
    • Early interior decoration consisted of mosaics featuring landscapes and city scenes
    • Flat uniform patterning similar to textile design
  • Palace at Mshatta, 743
    • Square fortified palace
    • Note the sculpted façade which employs intricate plant forms and animals
    • Employs an arabesque pattern – forshadows the Islamic fascination with geometric interlacing which often dominates interior decoration
    • caliph Harun al-Rashid writes with Charlemagne
    • Destroyed by Mongol hordes in 1258
  • Great Mosque at Samarra, 850
    • Largest mosque in the world
    • Could have accomodated 100,000 people gathered for prayer
    • 10 acres large
    • All that remains: exterior walls and 164’ high spiral minaret
  • Mosque of Ibn Tulun at Cairo, 877
    • Well preserved
    • New Muslim city near Memphis in Egypt
    • The earliest of Islamic buildings in Cairo which had a great impact on Medieval architecture in Europe
    • Aisled portico on the fourth wall contains several mihrabs (unusual)
    • Sharply pointed arches suported by massive bricks piers into whose corners are set little columns (columnettes) – used extensively in Christian churches in the Middle Ages
    • Vast spaces of courtyard and arcades produce an effect of spiritual granduer not to be seen until the Gothic churches.
  • The Great Mosque at Isfahan
    15th - 18th centuries
    Contains no less than 476 vaults, almost all domes
    First of a new type with 4 iwans
  • The Madrasa of Sultan Hasan
    14th Century
  • Mosque of Selim II, 1569
    • Ottoman Empire begins around 1300
    • Located in Edirne
    • After the fall of Constantinople
    • This mosque based on the model of St. Sophia, even though a little different
    • Does use flying buttresses adapted from Gothic architecture
    • Designed by the great Islamic architect Sinan who also worked extensively in Constantinople
  • Calligraphy
    Topkapi Palace Museum
  • Islamic Painting
    Human or animal figures of any kind theoretically banned
    Generally in effect against large-scale representational art for public display
    Ornate decorations on practical itmes (incense burners, cloth embroidery)
    Heavy use in book illustration
    Merging of outside/inside
    No sense of true 3-D space
  • Development of Paper
    A third important reason for the Golden Age was the establishment of a paper mill (factory) in Baghdad. Paper was first invented in China and then the Muslims learned how it was made. (Actually Chinese papermakers were taken prisoner and forced to teach their captors how to make paper) Soon paper replaced parchment (the skin of animals) and papyrus (a plant made into a kind of "paper" in ancient Egypt). The development of paper made it possible for a great many people to get books and learn from them. This was an important advance which affected education and scholarship.
  • Bahram Gur in the Green PavilionKhamsa.Tabriz, 1481
  • Suleyman the Magnificent as a young man" Semailname, Nakkas Osman 1579
    Gentile Bellini "The Sultan Mehmet II" (1480) National Gallery, London
  • Socrates and his StudentsMukhtar al-Hikam wa-Mahasin al-Kalim ('Choice Maxims and Finest Sayings')by Al-Mubashshir.Syria, beginning of 13th century