AHI 1E Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Quran, Epigraphy

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26 Sep 2016
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09/26/2016 Lecture
Pertaining to museums and the art presented in them:
Museum professionals attempt to figure out the best way to showcase all the various
objects they have in their possession.
90% of the objects are not even presented to the public. The 10% that are presented
were chosen to make sure that the audience viewed the culture itself.
They want to highlight the points of unity and differences with the rest of the world
We view the objects that the audience would like to view in our century.
All objects need to be presented in a way that obeys all rules that would conserve the
The object is not showcased in a way that would show its original purpose (ex: rug on
the wall rather than the floor)
Africa was a huge part where no artworks were mentioned; however, it is an area which
a lot of Islamic objects originated from. Islamic art from Western China and Indonesia
are not mentioned either.
The way art history, museums are structured divides art into divisions (ex. Byzantine art
is another department from Islamic art. Their commonality is not shown in museums.)
Lecture Notes
Harem= sacred
Muslims need to turn in the right direction in order to pray or participate in any religious
activities so they face the Ka ‘ba in Mecca.
Qibla Diagram: if you are in this particular place in the world, then you should face this
direction. A geographical map of sorts
A place of gathering: Mosque of the Prophet, Medina-Muhammad’s House in Medina
(large square with a courtyard, family room on the side, tress on the side which held
Mosque: place of gathering where you pray, discuss (political, religious, economic
concerns), debate, eat
Language and Writing
The form(language) of what God said in the Koran is important as well as the meaning.
Arabic of the Koran became very important to the community.
Oral transmission(performance) of text was crucial
People are learning Arabic because of its association with God.
Linguistic characteristics of Arabic, a sematic language: write only consonants but
pronounce all sounds…some of the vowels are written and some are not.
In this case, context is very important
Shape of the language changes as it appears before or after the sentence.
Written in cursive
Arabic has a way of being written and very particular grammar.
Epigraphy: inscriptions
Written right to left
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Umayyad: Damascus-capital, overtook the Byzantine empire
oEvolution of Coinage: 1st: Writing on one coin and 3 figures on the other
o2nd: Writing on both coins but only one figure
o3rd: Only writing on coins (no figures)
After deciding that you want to write the Koran, you need to decide how it is presented.
How to present: Scroll: continuous surface on which you write texts in segments and
Codex: book
Codex is chosen
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find more resources at oneclass.com