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Islam­ic Art cal­lig­ra­phy l Islam­ic Art Pat­terns l Muse­um Of Islam­ic Art l Mod­ern Islam­ic Art l Islam­ic Achieve­ments l Islam­ic Wall Art

Hav­ing the Islam­ic art in a short arti­cle would be kind of an impos­si­bil­i­ty with the 1300 years of his­to­ry, but we are going to do our best and our wish to show you a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of that art. Also, our wish to show you not destroyed build­ings or ruined lives results in a dark and fear-induc­ing reli­gious extrem­ism. But eye-water­ing and awe-inspir­ing beau­ty, a result of a ground­break­ing spir­i­tu­al­i­ty! moroccan tile background

Islamic Art calligraphy l Islamic Art Patterns l Museum Of Islamic Art l Modern Islamic Art l Islamic Achievements l Islamic Wall Art

The visu­al arts of (Main­ly) the Mid­dle-East, upon which Islam has had a pro­found influ­ence. Books have been writ­ten about Islam­ic Arts, and they have exist­ed for near­ly 1300 years. Now, let it say that we know and com­pre­hend how some peo­ple don’t seem to agree with the term “Islam­ic Arts.” It is believed to be a part of an Ori­en­tal­ist view of Islam. But there’ no refus­ing the fact that Islam has inspired Mus­lim artists and their works to a pro­found lev­el. Thus, we will be leav­ing the dis­cus­sion on the def­i­n­i­tion for anoth­er time and per­haps anoth­er arti­cle and will be focus­ing on the works men­tioned ear­li­er of Islam­ic Art. So, let us begin this small jour­ney into com­pre­hend­ing the Islam­ic Arts in the way all such jour­neys start. By look­ing into the his­to­ry of it all.

Looking back and within

Beautiful examples of Ottoman Calligraphy art

Islamic Art calligraphy l Islamic Art Patterns l Museum Of Islamic Art l Modern Islamic Art l Islamic Achievements l Islamic Wall Art

It is the 7th Cen­tu­ry A.D, and a rel­a­tive­ly new monothe­is­tic reli­gion is spread­ing fast in the East. Islam expands and allows the Chris­tians and Jews who were liv­ing with­in the Caliphate to keep on liv­ing as usu­al. With­in the Caliphate, artists keep devel­op­ing their arts. Some with an already pre­ex­ist­ing mind­set and some influ­enced by this “new” reli­gion. The peo­ple of the three Abra­ham­ic faiths liv­ing and work­ing in the same lands, ruled by the same peo­ple, liv­ing sim­i­lar lives. It was bound to affect their arts. That is why the term Islam­ic Arts doesn’t just cov­er the works of Mus­lims under its “umbrel­la” but those of Chris­tians and Jews that lived with­in the Islam­ic Caliphates as well. It was dur­ing that era, the time of the Umayyad dynasty (661–750), that we’re start­ing to see the sings of birth of the Islam­ic Arts. Archi­tec­ture is quick­ly inspired by the pre­ex­ist­ing Byzan­tine cul­ture, though its imagery of peo­ple replaced images of cities, trees, and plants. Even the coinage that pro­duced for the Caliphate doesn’t include “pic­tures” of the monarch (Caliph). But instead, of inscrip­tions are writ­ten in Ara­bic. It is, after all, for­bid­den to pro­duce images of liv­ing crea­tures cre­at­ed by God. Keep in mind that even back then, par­tic­u­lar styles with­in Islam­ic Arts exist­ed. A man in Syr­ia was just as like­ly to name the style of his archi­tec­ture ( Byzan­tine or Syr­i­an ) as it was to call it Islam­ic. But there were those forms of art that were to be pure­ly Islam­ic.

Islamic Art calligraphy

Such an art, with­out a doubt, was cal­lig­ra­phy, one. If not the, most impor­tant art forms in all of the Caliphates. Mus­lims believe that the Qu’ran is a scrip­ture pro­vid­ed by the divine (Allah) to the Prophet Mohammed. And Qu’ran is treat­ed with the utmost respect and ado­ra­tion. Thus, vers­es of the Qu’ran writ­ten in var­i­ous forms of callig­ra­phy have been found in many a piece of art across the Caliphates. These inscrip­tions are usu­al­ly fur­ther dec­o­rat­ed by geo­met­ric and veg­e­ta­tive motifs ( For exam­ple, flow­ers). And are placed any­where from palaces, to mosques, to madrasas (Reli­gious schools) to mau­soleums. Canva - Islamic calligraphy and colorful geometric patterns a Morocco.

Islamic Art calligraphy l Islamic Art Patterns l Museum Of Islamic Art l Modern Islamic Art l Islamic Achievements l Islamic Wall Art

Hon­est­ly, if we’re talk­ing about the Islam­ic Arts. The impor­tance of cal­lig­ra­phy can­not be over­stat­ed. It was the art form that engulfed and com­plet­ed most oth­er arts in the Islam­ic world. Keep in mind that while no ani­mals or humans were open­ly depict­ed in Islam­ic works of art. Islam­ic arts them­selves were far from ani­con­ic. If you’re look­ing for proof, look no fur­ther than the pri­vate res­i­dences of men such as Khir­bat Maf­jar and Qasr Amra. Where there are sev­er­al dec­o­ra­tions of fig­u­ra­tive paint­ings and sculp­tures. After all, as already stat­ed, not all who prac­ticed the Islam­ic Arts were Mus­lim and thus bound by Sharia law. It is also extreme­ly like­ly that as a West­ern­er, I haven’t seen much impor­tance being placed in the Islam­ic world when it comes to arts. Peo­ple blame this on dif­fer­ent things. While some cry racism or big­otry. It is my per­son­al belief that our real cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences are to blame. While both the East and the West have val­ued and will always val­ue archi­tec­ture, the West was more focused on sculp­tures and paint­ings. You mere­ly need to see the most val­ued art pieces of our times to under­stand this real­i­ty. The Mona Lisa (one of my favourites), The Cre­ation of Adam, Donatello’s David, Venus de Milo by Alexan­dros of Anti­och. Islamic Art l Seize Your Life

Islamic Art calligraphy l Islamic Art Patterns l Museum Of Islamic Art l Modern Islamic Art l Islamic Achievements l Islamic Wall Art

All these pieces of art depict humans in a way that is for­bid­den in Islam. On the oth­er hand, car­pet mak­ing, ceram­ics, and met­al­lur­gy were nev­er real­ly appre­ci­at­ed as art forms. At least not in the way that they val­ued in the Islam­ic world. Thus, it is pret­ty safe to say that the artis­tic val­ues that are extreme­ly loved in the West are non- exis­tent in the East and vice ver­sa.  

Something different

Islamic Art l Seize Your Life For many peo­ple, glass­mak­ing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when some­one says, “Art.”. Yet the Islam­ic Arts dom­i­nat­ed this depart­ment for most of the Mid­dle-Ages. Hav­ing “inher­it­ed” most of the glass-pro­duc­ing ter­ri­to­ries of the Sas­sanid and Roman Empires. It soon became appar­ent that the beau­ty of those as men­tioned ear­li­er “Islam­ic” veg­e­ta­tive and geo­met­ri­cal motifs. When applied to glass was near unmatched. This art form was also read­i­ly dis­played and thus wide­ly con­sumed. This wide­spread demand both from with­in the Caliphates and from. With­out allowed said art form to evolve at a neck-break­ing pace with dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion of effects used for Beau­ty becom­ing more and more com­pli­cat­ed. Let it also be not­ed that it believed- though not sure -. That those pri­mar­i­ly respon­si­ble for such great pieces of art were Jew­ish minori­ties in var­i­ous cities.

The Dome of the Rock

Islamic Art l Seize Your Life As one couldn’t talk about sur­re­al­ism with­out talk­ing about Pablo Picas­so or Sal­vador Dali, one couldn’t com­plete an arti­cle talk­ing about Islam­ic Arts with­out men­tion­ing the Dome of the Rock. The ear­li­est among the sev­er­al grand Islam­ic archi­tec­ture works of art, the Dome of the Rock is a shrine on Tem­ple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is con­sid­ered to be among the sacred sites for the reli­gion of Islam. It is also an excel­lent piece of archi­tec­ture dec­o­rat­ed with mosaics in the Byzan­tine style (minus the depic­tion of humans). Also dec­o­rat­ed by faience and mar­ble. It dis­plays what is per­haps the begin­ning of a great tra­di­tion in the art of tiling in the Islam­ic world. It was in the Dome’s image that many high build­ings built through­out his­to­ry. Such build­ings are the Mau­soleum of Sul­tan Suleiman, the Mag­nif­i­cent locat­ed in Istan­bul, and the New Syn­a­gogue in Berlin. Suleiman the Mag­nif­i­cent, in par­tic­u­lar, was fas­ci­nat­ed by the Dome of the Rock. As it is known that he was the one that had the inscrip­tion “Surah Ya-Sin” (Heart of the Qu’ran) across the top of its tile work. The Dome of the Rock has suf­fered a lot of destruc­tion through­out the cen­turies. Both by human inter­fer­ence and by time itself. Yet, it still stands as a mon­u­ment of the Islam­ic Arts. And it’s con­sid­ered the most rec­og­niz­able land­mark of Jerusalem.

A closing remark

Arabic ceramic plates with multicolored patterns on the Bazaar

Islam­ic Achieve­ments

Art is a world­wide phe­nom­e­non. It is, for many, what gives pur­pose to human life. A way to express what we think is right and beau­ti­ful about life and a way to achieve spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. It is one of the few ways that humankind has dis­cov­ered that achieves- in a way- immor­tal­i­ty. Artists both from Europe and those that prac­ticed the Islam­ic Arts signed their works for that very rea­son. So that their actions would remain and remind peo­ple of artists who are long gone and the great­ness of which they were capa­ble. We ought to val­ue all art as well as the cul­tures that have pro­mot­ed them more for that very rea­son. As for Islam, regard­less of your views on it. It is vital to under­stand its cul­tur­al and soci­etal sig­nif­i­cance and to show some respect for it. Please, don’t let any­one turn you into a hat­ing beast that sees ugli­ness every­where it looks. There’s more beau­ty out there than any­one could hope to imag­ine. Start look­ing for it instead 🙂
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