Chapter 13 The Islamic World Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, 13e
The Islamic World
The Islamic Faith is based on the ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam: Shahādah - Profession of faith Salah – Prayer 5 times a day Zakâh - Giving to the poor Sawm - Fasting during Ramadan Hajj - Pilgrimage to Mecca Although Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet, they reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, comparing it to polytheism. In Islamic theology, Jesus was just a man and not the son of God; God is described in a chapter of the Quar'an as "…God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him."
Chronology of Early Islam Muhammad Born in Mecca ca. 570 Muhammad’s First Revelation 610 Muhammad’s Flight to Medina ( Hijra ) 622 Muhammad Dies in Medina 632
Figure 13-2 Aerial view of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, 687–692.
Figure 13-3 Interior of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, 687–692.
This close-up photo of the lower exterior of the Dome of the Rock shows the magnificent tile work done by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1545. The arched niches used to contain mosaics, but they turned out to be too delicate for the harsh winters and Suleiman finally resolved the problem by replacing them all with tile. The Arabic inscription is of verses from the Qur'an.
Mihrab A mihrab is a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla, that is, the direction of Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. The wall in which a mihrab appears is thus the "qibla wall." Today, Mihrabs vary in size, are usually ornately decorated and often designed to give the impression of an arched doorway or a passage to Mecca. Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad are written in kufic script on the borders of the pointed arch of the niche.
Mihrab in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul.
Mihrab (prayer niche) Glazed ceramic tile 15 th -16 th Century Cincinnati Art Museum
(*NOTE: A ‘sahn’ is a courtyard.)
Arabesques The arabesque is an elaborative application of repeating geometric forms that often echo the forms of plants and animals. Arabesques are an element of Islamic art usually found decorating the walls of mosques.
Figure 13-5 Aerial view of the Great Mosque, Damascus, Syria, 706–715.
Great Mosque, Damascus, Syria 706-715
Figure 13-4 Detail of a mosaic in the courtyard arcade of the Great Mosque, Damascus, Syria, 706–715.
Figure 13-6 Plan of the Umayyad palace, Mshatta, Jordan, ca. 740–750 (after Alberto Berengo Gardin). Diocletian’s palace
Detail of the Frieze of the Umayyad Palace Mshatta, Jordan, ca. 740 – 750, limestone, 16 ft. 7 in. high
Frieze of the Umayyad Palace Mshatta, Jordan ca. 740 - 750 limestone 16 ft. 7 in. high
Figure 13-8 Aerial view ( left ) and plan ( right ) of the Great Mosque, Kairouan, Tunisia, ca. 836–875.
Figure 13-8 Plan of the Great Mosque, Kairouan, Tunisia, ca. 836–875 .
Figure 13-9 Malwiya minaret of the Great Mosque, Samarra, Iraq, 848–852 .
Malwiya minaret and Great Mosque Samarra, Iraq, ca. 848-852
Figure 13-10 Mausoleum of the Samanids, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, early 10th century .
Great Mosque of Cordoba (Spain) Once one of the biggest mosques in the World, it’s now a Catholic Cathedral since the Spanish Inquisition.
Entrance to the Great Mosque Córdoba, Spain 8th to 10th centuries
Figure 13-11 Prayer hall of the Great Mosque, Córdoba, Spain, 8th to 10th centuries.
Figure 13-12 Maqsura of the Great Mosque, Córdoba, Spain, 961–965.
Figure 13-13 Dome in front of the mihrab of the Great Mosque, Córdoba, Spain, 961–965.
Figure 13-14 Confronting lions and palm tree, fragment of a textile said to be from Zandana, near Bukhara, Uzbekistan, eighth century. Silk compound twill, 2’ 11” x 2’ 9 1/2”. Musée Historique de Lorraine, Nancy.
13-14A Pyxis of al-Mughira, from Medina al-Zahra, near Córdoba, Spain, 968. Ivory, 5 7/8” high. Louvre, Paris.
Figure 13-15 SULAYMAN, Ewer in the form of a bird, 796. Brass with silver and copper inlay, 1’ 3” high. Hermitage, Saint Petersburg.
Late Islamic Arts and Architecture
Examine the media, techniques and designs that are specific to the art of Islam, particularly in the ‘luxury’ arts.
Understand the contributions of Islamic art and ideas to later western art and culture.
The Luxury and Useful Arts
Calligraphy is the most important and pervasive element in Islamic art. It has always been considered the noblest form of art because of its association with the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, which is written in Arabic. This preoccupation with beautiful writing extended to all arts – including secular manuscripts; inscriptions on palaces; and those applied to metalwork, pottery, stone, glass, wood, and textiles – and to non-Arabic-speaking peoples within the Islamic commonwealth whose languages – such as Persian, Turkish, and Urdu – were written in the Arabic script.
Figure 13-16 Koran page with beginning of surah 18, “Al-Kahf” (The Cave), 9th or early 10th century. Ink and gold on vellum, 7 1/4” x 10 1/4”. Chester Beatty Library and Oriental Art Gallery, Dublin.
13-16A Dish with Arabic proverb, from Nishapur, Iran, 10th century. Painted and glazed earthenware, 1’ 2 1/2" diameter. Louvre, Paris.
13-16B Folio from the Blue Koran with 15 lines of surah 2, from Kairouan, Tunisia, 9th to mid-10th century. Ink, gold, and silver on blue-dyed vellum, 11 5/16” X 1’ 2 13/16”. Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge (Francis H. Burr Memorial Fund).
Figure 13-17 Muqarnas dome, Hall of the Two Sisters, Palace of the Lions, Alhambra, Granada, Spain, 1354–1391.
Figure 13-18 Madrasa-mosque-mausoleum complex of Sultan Hasan (looking northwest with the mausoleum in the foreground), Cairo, Egypt, begun 1356 .
13-19 Plan of the madrasa-mosque-mausoleum complex of Sultan Hasan, Cairo, Egypt, begun 1356.
Qibla wall, main iwan Madrasa-mosque-mausoleum complex of Sultan Hasan Cairo, Egypt 1356-1363
Figure 13-20 SINAN, Mosque of Selim II, Edirne, Turkey, 1568–1575.
Sinan, plan of Mosque of Selim II Edirne, Turkey, 1568-1575
Figure 13-21 SINAN, interior of the Mosque of Selim II, Edirne, Turkey, 1568–1575.
Figure 13-22 Aerial view (looking southwest) of the Great Mosque, Isfahan, Iran, 11th to 17th centuries.
Figure 13-22A Courtyard of the Great Mosque, Isfahan, Iran 11th to 17th centuries
Figure 13-24 Winter prayer hall of the Shahi (Imam) Mosque, Isfahan, Iran, 1611–1638 .
13-26 Bihzad, Seduction of Yusef , folio 52 verso of the Bustan of Sultan Husayn Mayqara, from Herat, Afghanistan, 1488. Ink and color on paper, 11 7/8” X 8 5/8”. National Library, Cairo.
13-27 Sultan-Muhammad, Court of Gayumars , folio 20 verso of the Shahnama of Shaha Tahmasp, from Tabriz, Iran, ca. 1525-1535. Ink, watercolor, and gold on paper, 1’ 1” X 9”. Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection, Geneva.
Taj Mahal, Agra, India 1632-1647
Sub-Saharan Islamic Art
Eastern façade of Friday Mosque Djenne, Mali 13th century, rebuilt 1906-07
Eastern façade of Friday Mosque, Djenne, Mali 13th century, rebuilt 1906-07
Weaving in Tile and Wool: Luxury Continued
Examine the extraordinary Islamic tile and mosaic designs.
Understand the carpet tradition and its expression of faith.
Figure 13-25 Mihrab from the Madrasa Imami, Isfahan, Iran, ca. 1354. Glazed mosaic tilework, 11’ 3” X 7’ 6”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Figure 13-28 MAQSUD OF KASHAN, carpet from the funerary mosque of Shaykh Safi al-Din, Ardabil, Iran, 1540. Knotted pile of wool and silk, 34’ 6” X 17’ 7”. Victoria & Albert Museum, London .
Figure 13-30 MUHAMMAD IBN AL-ZAYN, basin ( Baptistère de Saint Louis ), from Egypt, ca. 1300. Brass, inlaid with gold and silver, 8 3/4” high. Louvre, Paris.
Figure 13-31 Canteen with episodes from the life of Christ, from Syria, ca. 1240–1250. Brass, inlaid with silver, 1’ 2 1/2” high. Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.