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    Islamic Art Essay Paper

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    Islamic ArtIslamic art is perhaps the most accessible manifestation of a complexcivilization that often seems enigmatic to outsiders. Through its brilliant use ofcolor and its superb balance between design and form, Islamic art creates animmediate visual impact. Its strong aesthetic appeal transcends distances in timeand space, as well as differences in language, culture, and creed. Islamic art notonly invites a closer look but also beckons the viewer to learn more. “The term Islamic art may be confusing to some. It not only describes theart created specifically in the service of , but it also characterizes secular artproduced in lands under Islamic rule or influence, whatever the artist’s or thepatron’s religious affiliation.

    The term suggests an art unified in style andpurpose, and indeed there are certain common features that distinguish the artsof all Islamic lands. “1 Although this is a highly dynamic art, which is often markedby strong regional characteristics as well as by significant influences from othercultures, it retains an overall coherence that is remarkable given its vastgeographic and temporal boundaries. Of paramount concern to the developmentof this singular art is Islam itself, which fostered the creation of a distinctive visualculture with its own unique artistic language. Calligraphy is the most importantand pervasive element in Islamic art.

    It has always been considered the noblestform of art because of its association with the , the Muslim holy book, which iswritten in Arabic. This preoccupation with beautiful writing extended to all artsincluding secular manuscripts; inscriptions on palaces; and those applied tometalwork, pottery, stone, glass, wood, and textiles and to non-Arabic-speakingpeoples within the Islamic commonwealth whose languages such as Persian,Turkish, and Urdu were written in the Arabic script. Another characteristic ofIslamic art is a preference for covering surfaces with patterns composed ofgeometric or vegetal elements. Complex geometric designs, as well as intricatepatterns of vegetal ornament (such as the arabesque), create the impression ofunending repetition, which is believed by some to be an inducement tocontemplate the infinite nature of God. This type of nonrepresentationaldecoration may have been developed to such a high degree in Islamic artbecause of the absence of figural imagery, at least within a religious context.

    Contrary to a popular misconception, however, figural imagery is animportant aspect of Islamic art. Such images occur primarily in secular andespecially courtly arts and appear in a wide variety of media and in most periodsand places in which Islam flourished. It is important to note, nevertheless, thatrepresentational imagery is almost invariably restricted to a private context. Figurative art is excluded from the decoration of religious monuments. Thisabsence may be attributed to an Islamic antipathy toward anything that might bemistaken for idols or idolatry, which are explicitly forbidden by the Qur’an.

    InIslamic cultures the so-called decorative arts provide the primary means ofartistic expression, in contrast to Western art, in which painting and sculpture arepreeminent. Illuminated manuscripts, woven textiles and carpets, inlaidmetalwork, blown glass, glazed ceramics, and carved wood and stone allabsorbed the creative energies of artists, becoming highly developed art forms. These works include small-scale objects of daily use, such as delicate glassbeakers, as well as more monumental architectural decoration, for example,glazed tile panels from building facades. Such objects were meticulouslyfabricated and carefully embellished, often with rare and costly materials,suggesting that the people for whom they were made sought to surroundthemselves with beauty. Royal patronage played an important role in the making of Islamic art, asit has in the arts of other cultures. The construction of mosques and otherreligious buildings.

    including their decoration and furnishings, was theresponsibility of the ruler and the prerogative of high court officials. Suchmonuments not only provided for the spiritual needs of the community but oftenserved educational and charitable functions as well. Royal patronage of secularart was also a standard feature of Islamic sovereignty, one that enabled the rulerto demonstrate the splendor of his court and, by extension, the superiority of hisstate. Evidence of courtly patronage is derived from the works of art themselves,but an equally important source of information is the extensive body of historicaltexts that attest to royal sponsorship of the arts almost throughout the Islamicperiod. These historical works also indicate that only a fraction of suchcourt-sponsored art has survived; objects made of precious materials areparticularly rare. From the fourteenth century onward, especially in easternIslamic lands, the arts of the book provide the best documentation of courtlypatronage.

    Of course, not all works of Islamic art were sponsored by the court; in fact,the majority of objects and manuscripts in museum collections originatedelsewhere. Such works of art including pottery, base metalware, carpets, andtextiles have often been viewed as the products of urban, middle-classpatronage. These objects nonetheless frequently reflect the same styles andmake use of the same forms and techniques employed in courtly art. Whetherproduced in a courtly or an urban setting or for a religious context, Islamic art isgenerally the work of anonymous artists.

    A notable exception is in the sphere ofthe arts of the book. The names of certain calligraphers are well known, which isnot surprising given the primacy of the written word in Islam, as are those of anumber of painters, most of whom were attached to a particular court. Theidentification of these artists has been based on signed or attributed examples oftheir works and on textual references. Given the great number of extantexamples, comparatively few signatures are found on metalwork, pottery, carvedwood and stone, and textiles.

    Those signatures that do occur, combined withrare evidence from contemporary textual sources, suggest that families of artists,often over several generations, specialized in a particular medium or technique. Some of the famous Arts are in the Building and Architecture. They buildmosques to worship and praise in. In the mosques they built gates which “is amonumental, highly decorated structure set into a usually plain facade (front)facing the street. “2 You can find some of these gates in such building as the TheDome of the Rock and in the most famous tomb of the Taj Mahal. Now only fewbuildings are still around, but the cities still rank the highest in beauty.

    The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem signifies and serves as a perfectexample of the brilliancy behind Islamic art. The Dome of the Rock contains allthe major characteristics throughout the whole architectural building, whichincludes calligraphy, patterns of visual and geometrical elements, figuralimagery, and illuminated manuscripts. ” The Dome of the Rock is often called thefirst work of Islamic architecture, and if it is the building must be the finest firsteffort in the history of architecture. “3 The Dome Of The Rock, Jerusalem 692 and later The interior view of The Dome of the rock. Where many believe Abraham offered to sacrificeIsaacThe gates of Taj Mahal 2003The Taj Mahaul was built for the empire and his wife.

    It is one of the mostformal themes that a building can contain. “Its refined elegance is aconspicuous contrast both to the Hindu architecture of pre-Islamic India, with itsthick walls, corbeled arches, and heavy lintels, and to the Indo-Islamic styles, inwhich Hindu elements are combined with an eclectic assortment of motifs fromPersian and Turkish sources. “4With all the beautiful structures and elements of Islam, you would neverknow how strict the region was. In Islamic cultures the so-called decorative artsprovide the primary means of artistic expression. They showed their beautifulcreativity in all their work such in the buildings, books, and the carvings. Thismay be why it

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