History 2606E Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Minbar, Acculturation, Maqsurah

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Published on 9 Feb 2014
Lecture 11 – Islamic Architecture
Architecture Topics
oAcculturation: previous influences, environment, Islamic symbolism
oWhat monuments were left standing and why?
oBuildings or religious institutions: mosques and madrasas
oBuildings of secular institutions
General Introduction
oArab tribes may have roamed in a region where art and architecture were
primitive, but they ended up in a region where art and architecture were
sophisticated and valued
oGreek, Sassanid, Roman and Byzantine traditions were available to imitate
and incorporate
Can be observed in the Islamic period buildings
oEasy to distinguish between the existing styles of buildings and the
changes which were brought by the Islamic and Arab influences
oFor example, the Ka’aba, the first architectural monument in Islam, is
small and influenced by Ethiopian building style
oAnother determining factor is the usage of local masons and skilled
labourers which brought their styles
oArt historians differentiate between religious monuments, largely, the
mosques, and the secular style monuments, largely the palaces
oFirst group of Islamic monuments date from 7-9th centuries and resulted in
the developed in a clear recognizable Islamic style that would vary in
details from one region to the other but would always conserve a unique
basic forms
oReligious monuments would be firstly the mosques but later include
schools (madrasas), mausoleums, ribats
oSecular monuments would be the palaces but also cities in general
Architectural Features of Mosques
oFirst mosque was the one in Medina
oBuilt by Muhammad in 622 and served as the prototype for all later
oWas a square enclosure surrounded by walls of bricks and stones
oWithin 80 years the new mosques show same characteristics
1. Open courtyard, sahn
2. High pulpit, minbar
3. Wooden screen, maqsura
4. Prayer niche, mihrab, indicating the direction of Mecca, the
5. The minaret where the call for prayer were issued. In Arabic the
word is midhana, sawma’a, or manara
Mosques Building Style (General)
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