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NMC103H1 Lecture Notes - Islamic Architecture, Indian Art, Muqarnas

Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Course Code
Maria Subtelny

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Influence of the Iranian tradition
Iranian artistic tradition portraiture, painting integrated in
Islamicate culture
mainly secular themes—myths, epics, romances
religiously-inspired art—tales of prophets, mi’raj of prophet
impact on Turkish painting, Indian art
painting—closely connected with “ART of the BOOK”
oillustrations found in special books, not conventional
‘paintings on canvases’
oillustration of creation of Adam and angels angels
prostrate themselves except for Lucifer, who is jealous and
refuses to bow to a ‘mere human’
odepiction of the prophet Muhammad’s sandal God told
Muhammad he did not have to take off his sandal
demonstrating superiority of prophet Muhammad over
oillustrations always included over-written text, on artwork
Islamic architecture
Religious = “mosques, madrasas, khanaqahs, tomb shrines”
Secular = “palaces, mausolea, caravanserais, ribats
Materials: “stone, brick (mud, baked), plaster, stucco
Architectural décor
muqarnas—stalactite-type carving
overy difficult to craft, expertly
oDome of the Rock1
one of features of practice (building new religious
temples on site of previous ones)—reason not to
supercede old religion, but to appropriate the
charismatic appeal of earlier religions
oTaj Mahal, Agra –mausoleum
oHospital of
muqarnas design
oGardens*--very significant element of architecture
What makes Ialmic art/architecture ‘Islamicate’?
-according to Blair & Bloom all visual arts produced in
Islamic world, regardless of religious background of ppl
who produced it or what it was used for
1 Jerusalem—oldest existing architectural monument in Islam, 692 AD, Umayyad caliph ‘Abd al-Malik
Actually contains a huge rock inside, byzantine-like decorations
There is a Byzantine icon of Christ in mosque
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