Content for presentation

ISLAMIC ART:

Understanding the origins, influences and contemporary developments

  • What is Islamic Art?
  • A brief history of Islamic art and the early influences on this art
  • Establishment of traditional Islamic Art
  • The movement of Islamic art practice from the East to West
  • The rise of contemporary Islamic Art

“The term ‘Islamic art’ refers not only to the art made for Islamic practices and settings but also to the art made by and for people who lived or live in lands where most – or the most important – people were or are Muslims, that is believers in Islam. The term is, therefore, used somewhat differently than such comparable terms as ‘Christian’ or ‘Buddhist’ art: Islamic art refers to the arts of all Islamic cultures and not just to the arts related to the religion of Islam.”

Islamic Arts (Art & Ideas), Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair, Phaidon Press Ltd (Jun 1997)

Figure 1 - leaf from Kufic Qur'an folio,  manuscript on vellum. First half 10th century

Figure 1 - leaf from Kufic Qur'an folio, manuscript on vellum. First half 10th century. Christie’s auction catalogue: Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, London 31 March 2009, pg 3

Figure 2 – Qur’anic manuscript on buff paper, late 15th century

Figure 2 – Qur’anic manuscript on buff paper, late 15th century. Image from Christie’s auction catalogue: Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, London 31 March 2009, pg 11

Beautification of the Qur’an was encouraged with the repeated mention of perfection and beauty in the Qur’an. And the reported saying (Hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

“Almighty Allah is Beautiful (splendid in His perfection) and loves beauty.”

However, the ban against using imagery with people or animals originates from the following Hadith where the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was reported to have said:

“The most severely punished of people on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers, those who tried to imitate the creation of Allah.”

As Muslims adhere to the teachings of both the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the actions and sayings of the Prophet), the above comment becomes quite important in a religious context.

Figure 3 - Early Islamic High tin bronze ewer, Central Asia 8th/9th centruy

Figure 3 - Early Islamic High tin bronze ewer, Central Asia 8th/9th centruy (Image from Christie’s auction catalogue: Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, London 31 March 2009, pg 32)

Detail of calligraphy and patterns on Dome of the Rock

Detail of caligraphy and patterns on Dome of the Rock - Image from Salaam web site: http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/march02_index.php?l=4 (last accessed 14/09/09 00:35)

Arabic Calligraphy

Proportioned alphabet in Arabic calligraphy

Proportioned alphabet in Arabic calligraphy - Image from http://www.sakkal.com/ArtArabicCalligraphy.html (last accessed 15/09/09 01:18)

Kaf ha ya ayn sad, by Osman Waqialla

Kaf ha ya ayn sad, by Osman Waqialla - Ink and gold on vellum laid down on cream coloured paper, 1980 (Image from http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/online_tours/africa/sudan_islamic_and_modern/osman_waqialla,_kaf_ha_ya_ayn.aspx, last accessed 031109, 23:23)

Fine Art

Ghost by Kader Attia

Ghost by Kader Attia

Ghost by Kader Attia

Ghost by Kader Attia

Crafts

Geometry and pattern-making

Illustration from Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry, Daud Sutton

Illustration from Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry, Daud Sutton, pg 8

Illustration from Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry, Daud Sutton

Figure 13 - Illustration from Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry, Daud Sutton, pg 9

Desert Rose by Zarah Hussain

Desert Rose by Zarah Hussain, Hand-ground watercolour on Khadi paper, 50cm x 50cm (2004) - Image from http://www.zarahhussain.co.uk/index.php?page=15&display=170 (last accessed 041109, 00:32)

Still image from Beauty of abstraction installation by Zarah Hussain

Still image from Beauty of abstraction installation by Zarah Hussain (Image from http://www.zarahhussain.co.uk/index.php?page=15&display=226 (last accessed 041109, 00:40)

Digital art

Digital print of canvas art by Sara Choudhrey

Digital print of canvas art by Sara Choudhrey

Space, shape and light by Sara Choudhrey

Figure 18 - Space, shape and light by Sara Choudhrey

Image from Reflective Light series - Sara Choudhrey

Light projection with reflective layer - Sara Choudhrey

Gold pattern cut-out

Gold reflections - Sara Choudhrey

Layering reflective sheets

Layering reflective sheets - Sara Choudhrey

Ripples - Sara Choudhrey

Ripples - Sara Choudhrey

projection_reflective

Light projection with reflective sheets - Sara Choudhrey

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