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However, in Islamic lands as in many non-European or ancient civilizations, these media have been widely used for purposes more artistic than utilitarian and brought to a point of perfection that prohibits classifying them as handicrafts. Thus, if Islamic artists are not interested in sculpture for mainly religious reasons, they sometimes show, according to time and region, a remarkable inventiveness and mastery over these different terrains with the arts of art. When we talk about the arts in Islamic lands, we often think of an anonic art consisting only of geometric patterns and arabesques.

However, there are also many figurative representations, especially in all that is not in the field of religion. However, all the arts of Islam are not religious, far from it, and other sources are used by artists, especially literary ones. Persian literature, such as Sh h N m , the national epic composed at the beginning of the 10th century by Firdawsi, the Five Poems or Khamsa of Nizami twelfth century , is thus an important source of motifs found both in the arts of the book only in objects ceramics, carpets, etc. The works of the mystical poets Saadi and Djami also give rise to many performances.

The Jami al-tawarikh, or Universal History, composed by the vizier Il-khanide Rashid al-Din at the beginning of the fourteenth century, is the support of many representations throughout the Islamic world from the moment it was written. Arab literature is not left out, however, and the fables of Indian origin of Kalila wa Dimna or Maqamat al-Hariri and other texts are frequently illustrated in the workshops of Baghdad or Syria. Scientific literature, such as astronomy or mechanics treatises, also gives rise to illustrations. It is often thought that the arts of Islam are entirely aniconic, nevertheless one can only note the numerous human and animal figures present in ceramics.

The figures may give rise to representations having, depending on the time and place, the veiled face or not. The question of figurative representation is therefore complex, especially since its evolution makes it even more difficult to understand. Calligraphic design is omnipresent in Islamic art , where, as in Europe in the Middle Ages, religious exhortations, including Quranic verses, may be included in secular objects, especially coins, tiles and metalwork, and most painted miniatures include some script, as do many buildings. Use of Islamic calligraphy in architecture extended significantly outside of Islamic territories; one notable example is the use of Chinese calligraphy of Arabic verses from the Quran in the Great Mosque of Xian.

Other inscriptions include verses of poetry, and inscriptions recording ownership or donation. Two of the main scripts involved are the symbolic kufic and naskh scripts, which can be found adorning and enhancing the visual appeal of the walls and domes of buildings, the sides of minbars, and metalwork.

Islamic Art, Literature, And Culture (the Islamic World)

Islamic calligraphy in the form of painting or sculptures are sometimes referred to as quranic art. East Persian pottery from the 9th to 11th centuries decorated only with highly stylised inscriptions, called epigraphic ware, has been described as probably the most refined and sensitive of all Persian pottery. Large inscriptions made from tiles, sometimes with the letters raised in relief, or the background cut away, are found on the interiors and exteriors of many important buildings.

Complex carved calligraphy also decorates buildings.

For most of the Islamic period the majority of coins only showed lettering, which are often very elegant despite their small size and nature of production. The tughra or monogram of an Ottoman sultan was used extensively on official documents, with very elaborate decoration for important ones. Other single sheets of calligraphy, designed for albums, might contain short poems, Quranic verses, or other texts.

The main languages, all using Arabic script, are Arabic, always used for Quranic verses, Persian in the Persianate world, especially for poetry, and Turkish, with Urdu appearing in later centuries. Calligraphers usually had a higher status than other artists. Although there has been a tradition of wall-paintings, especially in the Persianate world, the best-surviving and highest developed form of painting in the Islamic world is the miniature in illuminated manuscripts, or later as a single page for inclusion in a muraqqa or bound album of miniatures and calligraphy.

The tradition of the Persian miniature has been dominant since about the 13th century, strongly influencing the Ottoman miniature of Turkey and the Mughal miniature in India.


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Miniatures were especially an art of the court, and because they were not seen in public, it has been argued that constraints on the depiction of the human figure were much more relaxed, and indeed miniatures often contain great numbers of small figures, and from the 16th century portraits of single ones. Although surviving early examples are now uncommon, human figurative art was a continuous tradition in Islamic lands in secular contexts, notably several of the Umayyad Desert Castles c. The largest commissions of illustrated books were usually classics of Persian poetry such as the epic Shahnameh, although the Mughals and Ottomans both produced lavish manuscripts of more recent history with the autobiographies of the Mughal emperors, and more purely military chronicles of Turkish conquests.

Portraits of rulers developed in the 16th century, and later in Persia, then becoming very popular. Mughal portraits, normally in profile, are very finely drawn in a realist style, while the best Ottoman ones are vigorously stylized. Album miniatures typically featured picnic scenes, portraits of inpiduals or in India especially animals, or idealized youthful beauties of either sex. Chinese influences included the early adoption of the vertical format natural to a book, which led to the development of a birds-eye view where a very carefully depicted background of hilly landscape or palace buildings rises up to leave only a small area of sky.

The figures are arranged in different planes on the background, with recession distance from the viewer indicated by placing more distant figures higher up in the space, but at essentially the same size. The colours, which are often very well preserved, are strongly contrasting, bright and clear. The tradition reached a climax in the 16th and early 17th centuries, but continued until the early 19th century, and has been revived in the 20th. From the yarn fiber to the colors, every part of the Persian rug is traditionally handmade from natural ingredients over the course of many months.

No Islamic artistic product has become better known outside the Islamic world than the pile carpet, more commonly referred to as the Oriental carpet oriental rug. Their versatility is utilized in everyday Islamic and Muslim life, from floor coverings to architectural enrichment, from cushions to bolsters to bags and sacks of all shapes and sizes, and to religious objects such as a prayer rug, which would provide a clean place to pray.

They have been a major export to other areas since the late Middle Ages, used to cover not only floors but tables, for long a widespread European practice that is now common only in the Netherlands. Carpet weaving is a rich and deeply embedded tradition in Islamic societies, and the practice is seen in large city factories as well as in rural communities and nomadic encampments.

In earlier periods, special establishments and workshops were in existence that functioned directly under court patronage. Very early Islamic carpets, i. More have survived in the West and oriental carpets in Renaissance painting from Europe are a major source of information on them, as they were valuable imports that were painted accurately.

The most natural and easy designs for a carpet weaver to produce consist of straight lines and edges, and the earliest Islamic carpets to survive or be shown in paintings have geometric designs, or centre on very stylized animals, made up in this way. Since the flowing loops and curves of the arabesque are central to Islamic art , the interaction and tension between these two styles was long a major feature of carpet design.

There are a few survivals of the grand Egyptian 16th century carpets, including one almost as good as new discovered in the attic of the Pitti Palace in Florence, whose complex patterns of octagon roundels and stars, in just a few colours, shimmer before the viewer. Production of this style of carpet began under the Mamluks but continued after the Ottomans conquered Egypt.

The other sophisticated tradition was the Persian carpet which reached its peak in the 16th and early 17th century in works like the Ardabil Carpet and Coronation Carpet; during this century the Ottoman and Mughal courts also began to sponsor the making in their domains of large formal carpets, evidently with the involvement of designers used to the latest court style in the general Persian tradition.

These use a design style shared with non-figurative Islamic illumination and other media, often with a large central gul motif, and always with wide and strongly demarcated borders. The grand designs of the workshops patronized by the court spread out to smaller carpets for the merely wealthy and for export, and designs close to those of the 16th and 17th centuries are still produced in large numbers today. The description of older carpets has tended to use the names of carpet-making centres as labels, but often derived from the design rather than any actual evidence that they originated from around that centre.

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Research has clarified that designs were by no means always restricted to the centre they are traditionally associated with, and the origin of many carpets remains unclear. Spanish carpets, which sometimes interrupted typical Islamic patterns to include coats of arms, enjoyed high prestige in Europe, being commissioned by royalty and for the Papal Palace, Avignon, and the industry continued after the Reconquista. Armenian carpet-weaving is mentioned by many early sources, and may account for a much larger proportion of East Turkish and Caucasian production than traditionally thought.

The Berber carpets of North Africa have a distinct design tradition. Apart from the products of city workshops, in touch with trading networks that might carry the carpets to markets far away, there was also a large and widespread village and nomadic industry producing work that stayed closer to traditional local designs.

As well as pile carpets, kelims and other types of flat-weave or embroidered textiles were produced, for use on both floors and walls. Figurative designs, sometimes with large human figures, are very popular in Islamic countries but relatively rarely exported to the West, where abstract designs are generally what the market expects. Islamic art has very notable achievements in ceramics, both in pottery and tiles for walls, which in the absence of wall-paintings were taken to heights unmatched by other cultures.

Early pottery is often unglazed, but tin-opacified glazing was one of the earliest new technologies developed by the Islamic potters. The first Islamic opaque glazes can be found as blue-painted ware in Basra, dating to around the 8th century. Another significant contribution was the development of stonepaste ceramics, originating from 9th century Iraq.

The first industrial complex for glass and pottery production was built in Raqqa, Syria, in the 8th century. Other centers for innovative pottery in the Islamic world included Fustat from to , Damascus from to around and Tabriz from to Lusterwares with iridescent colours may have continued pre-Islamic Roman and Byzantine techniques, but were either invented or considerably developed on pottery and glass in Persia and Syria from the 9th century onwards. Determining the concept of Arabian Civilization, its features, the Islamic Arts and stating the civil and enlightenment roles of the Arabian Civilization and its effect on the Western Civilization through the bestowal in the different fields.

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The Society is honored to receive opinions and notes of all those concerned who are with the Arabian Civilization and Islamic Arts in all of their scientific and artistic aspects. As we would you like to submit any useful suggestions for That are useful for the association to perform its task. Mohamed Aly Zenhom.


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  6. Indexed by. Muslim India can further boast a fine heritage of Arabic poetry and prose theological, philosophical, and mystical works. The princes surrounded themselves with a military aristocracy of mainly Turkish extraction, and a few poetical and prose works in Turkish were thus written at some Indian courts. In various regions of the subcontinent an extremely pleasing folk literature has flourished throughout the ages: Sindhi in the lower Indus Valley , for example, and Punjabi in the Punjab are languages rich in an emotional poetry that uses popular metres and forms.

    At the Indo-Iranian border the oldest fragments of the powerful Pashto poetry date from the Middle Ages. The neighbouring Balochi poetry consists largely of ballads and religious folk songs. All the peoples in this area have interpreted Islamic mysticism in their own simple, touching imagery. In the east of the subcontinent Bengali Muslims possess a large Islamic literary heritage , including religious epics from the 14th and 15th centuries and some lovely religious folk songs.

    Islamic art - Wikipedia

    The achievements of modern novelists and lyric poets from Bangladesh are impressive. As a result of the spread of Islam to the north in the 14th century, a number of classical themes in Islamic lore were elaborated in Kashmiri lyric and epic poetry. To the south an occasional piece of Islamic religious poetry can be found even in Tamil and Malayalam. Some fine Muslim short stories have been produced in modern Malayalam. Urdu , now the chief literary language of Muslim India and Pakistan, borrowed heavily from Persian literature during its classical period in the 18th century.

    In many writings only the verbs are in Urdu, the rest consisting of Persian constructions and vocabulary, and the themes of traditional Urdu literature were often adapted from Persian. Modern Urdu prose, however, has freed itself almost completely from the past, whereas in poetry promising steps have been taken toward modernization of both forms and content see South Asian arts: Islamic literatures and Modern period.

    Like classical Urdu, it was heavily influenced by Persian in metrics and vocabulary.

    On the other hand, a rich and moving folk poetry in popular syllable-counting metres has always flourished among the Turkish population of Anatolia and Rumelia. The mystical songs of the poet Yunus Emre died c. From this folk tradition, as well as from Western literature , modern Turkish literature has derived a great deal of its inspiration. Its main cultural centres Samarkand , Bukhara , Fergana became part of the Muslim empire after Central Asia was an important centre of Islamic learning until the tsarist invasions in the s, and the peoples of this region have produced a classical literature in Arabic.

    Many of the most famous Arabic and Persian scholars and poets writing in the heyday of Muslim influence were Central Asians by birth. Tajik literature is basically Persian, both as it is written today in Tajikistan and as it existed in earlier forms, when it was indistinguishable from classical Persian. After the Russification of the country, and especially after the Revolution , a new literature emerged that was part and parcel of the former Soviet literature.