Islamic Art & Architecture Faith, Pattern, Geometry
The Kaaba, Mecca. Pilgrims surrounding the Kaaba (dedicated by Mohammed)
Kaaba & Islam • Originally held various “pagan” icons • Mohammed fled Medina (the hijira) for Mecca and threw out icons from the Kaaba (aniconism) • Islam calls for worship of only one god
Kaaba & Islam • Figurative art, especially religion, avoided • Islamic artists use nonfigural ornament, text, arabesques (scrolling vines) & complex patterns However this varies by region/time frame.. What examples can you think of?
The Kaaba • Millions of faithful Muslims PILGRIMAGE or ha’ij to Mecca • Part of 5 pillars of Islam for those able to go • Inscribed with a few verses of the Qu’ran (Koran) • FLASHCARD
So how does this fit Islam? • Merchant al-Amin saw vision of angel in 610 CE • Mohammed (messenger of God), went to Mecca • Recited revelations of the angel in chanted verses • His followers wrote down the verses, became the Qur’an • Attracted 1000s of followers; but angered the powerful • Fled Mecca for Medina (built first mosque) place of worship/prayer • Returned to Mecca with army of 10,0000 • Emptied the Kaaba - now symbolic center of all Muslim prayer and destination for the ha’ij.
5 Pillars of Islam • Allah (one god) : Mohammed = msgr • Prayer facing Mecca 5x day (fountains in courtyards for ablutions/washing) • Zakah - alms/tax to help poor • Daily fasting during Ramadan (annual festival) • Pilgrimage to Mecca - circumambulate Kaaba • What other monotheistic religions do you know of?
The Spread of Islam in the Middle East and Europe Four caliphs/followers of Mohammed succeeded --spread into India, Africa, Spain
The 4 Caliphs Arabic was used to study and teach, but also simply to delight the eye • Ruled after Mohammed • 3rd Caliph Uthman - completed the Qur’an… unifying force of the Arabic language • Ali was the 4th caliph; power struggle - assassination in 661 DIVISIONS FROM THIS CONFLICT CONTINUE TODAY…. • Shi’a = followers of Ali as the one true caliph • Sunni = believe all 4 caliphs were “rightfully guided” Where are the Shia’s and Sunnis still fighting TODAY ?????
Early Dynasties of the Islamic Empire - Umayyads 661-750 • Following Ali’s assassination, Umayyad Dynasty founded (661-750) • Empire expanded into Persia, Egypt, Syria & Palestine w/in 20 years • Went into India, N. Africa and Spain by the early 700s. • Built mosques and palaces from capital in Damascus. The Dome of the Rock was the first great monument of Islamic Art.
Cutaway View of The Dome Of the Rock In Jerusalem The rock was where Mohammed ascended to God, according to Islam
Dome of the Rock, interior Jerusalem flashcard Begun 691 CE, Umayyad 1st great Islamic monument 3rd most holy site in Islam Built on holy site for Jews & Christians too; Islamic view : Mohammed completed the prophecies of those faiths Frieze of Qur’an writings of gold mosaic on turquoise background-oldest written Qur’an verses Oldest use of Qur’an in architecture • Golden dome, marble veneers, rich mosaics & patterned carpets • Dome atop octagonal drum w/ arcades of piers and columns • ambulatory aisles for faithful to walk around
Frieze from façade of Palace at Mshatta (Jordan, 743 CE) • Umayyid caliphs built palaces such as the one at Mshatta • Frieze divided into triangular compartments, geometric shapes contrasting with organic vines, scrolls with birds and animals • Near the mosque portion no animals or birds were shown (aniconism). • Where did we see friezes in ancient and classical times?
Early Dynasties of the Islamic Empire • Ummayids were replaced by Abbasid dynasty in 750; • Ruled from Baghdad until 1258. • Abbassids borrowed artistically from Roman, Byzantium, China, Persia & India • Abbassids; medicine, arts, literature The Dome of the Rock was the first great momument of Islamic Art.
Mosque Features & Plans • Hypostyle (multicolumned) mosques such as the Great Mosque of Tunisia • Added courtyard, flat roofed hypostyle prayer hall towards Mecca • Qibla wall - mihrab • Mihrab = niche for holy place, such as Torah scrolls in a synagogue or niche for Roman god statue
Know & recognize these 3 characteristic arches/niches from Islamic architecture Muqarnas are unique to Islam Often stacked and used in multiples, very intricate and dazzling to the eye Sometimes vault domes, or used as part of a mihrab SEE EXAMPLES ON NEXT PAGES
Tile Mosaic Mihrab, from the Madrasa Imami, Isfahan Medium: Glazed and cut tiles Size: 11'3" X 7'6" 14th century Iran The Metropolitan Museum of Art One of finest examples of early architectural ceramic decoration 3 inscriptions: outer in cursive, Qur’an verses about 5 Pillars of Islam. Inner Kufic sayings of prophet Center panel: line in Kufic says “The mosque is the house of every pious person.” FLASHCARD
Minbar (pulpit) Example of beautiful wood and ivory inlaid Minbar from mosque in Cairo, Egypt (15th Century)
Qibla wall from Sultan Hasan Madrasa-Mausoleum-Mosque Cairo Egypt 14th century Example of elaborate Qibla (prayer wall) with minbar (pulpit), mihrab (niche)
Prayer Hall, Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain • Spanish Umayyad dynasty, 8th century • Flashcard • Emir was patron of arts • Cordoba was capital • Appropriated former Christian church from Visigoths • Expanded by later rulers • Hypostyle prayer hall marble columns • Horseshoe arches (adopted from Romans!) • Alternating red brick and white stone voussoirs in the curved arch • Domes were beautiful mosaics done by master Byzantine artists; trade diplomacy and competition in the medeival Mediterranean
Dome of Great Mosque of Cordoba, in front of the mihrab Note intricate mosaics Islamic interest in mathematics & geometry
Students will discuss this with the class. Note dome, and minarets Sultan Selim Mosque
Mosque of Sultan Selim, Edirne • Ottoman Empire, 16th century Turkey • Architect Sinan (for Suleyman the Magnificent) • Flashcard • Minarets almost 300’ high, only 12’ in diameter • Only royal mosques allowed multiple minarets Square base transitioned to central dome with corner half domes Gigantic hemispheric dome larger than Hagia Sophia Complex held mosque, madrasa, hospittal, kitchens, market, baths Central plan with fountain (see plans)
Interior of dome of Mosque of Sultan Selim Edirne STUDENTS PRESENT THIS
Four Iwan Mosque plan Congregational Mosque, Isfahan Developed in Iran Iwan = huge, barrel vaulted walls with arch entrances Cross-axial emphasis Central courtyard Qibla is the prayer wall KNOW THIS VOCABULARY
Great Mosque of Ishafan (Iran) Note iwan walls with vaulted entrances Mosaic tile decoration Minarets Four iwan plan 17th century, lots of additions since
Calligraphy • Students will present • Art of fine hand lettering • Qur’an word of god- must be written with devotion & embellishment • Verbal information & aesthetics
Arabic manuscript page Kufic headings Naskhi (Iran) scripts Calligraphers enjoyed very high status, included women and princes 20 cursive scripts in use by the 10th century Qur’an usually wrote on parchment or vellum
Ceramics & Glassware • Students will present • Samarkand • Fritware • Figurative embellishment, especially when illuminated manuscripts & books popular
Samarkand ceramics had a beautiful white ground like Chinese porcelain. Border is Kufic script; Calligraphy often used for decoration as well as text.
Mamluk Glass Oil Lamp, Syria or Egypt, 14th century Glass, polychrome enamel, gold Egyptians produced 1st glass in 2nd millenium BCE 13th century CE artistic exchanges in Italy, Syria, Egypt developed new molding and blowing techniques Used for mosques Kuranic inscription: God is the light of the heavens. European heraldry symbols FLASHCARD - DISCUSS INFLUENCES, FIGURATIVE IMAGERY, ETC.
The Macy Jug Ceramic Painted fritware, incised 1215-1216, Iran Now at Metropolitan Museum of Art FLASHCARD IMAGE Technique to produce lustrous metallic surface on fired ceramic Painted dense, elaborate patterns of animals, foliage, etc. Originally FRITWARE used for beads in ancient Egypt
“Oriental” Rugs • Students will present • Worldwide popularity even through today • Knotted carpets date back 4th century BCE • Silk weaving exchange with China (China Silk Road) • Paradise & garden associations
Banner of Las Navas de Tolosa Silk tapestry weave with gilt parchment Trophy taken by Christian King Ferdinand III.. Detail of center section Calligraphic panels
“Oriental” Rugs • Rugs used for Muslim prayer • Knotted rugs technique passed down thru generations
Medallion Rug Star Ushak Style Note patterns which reverse symmetry Infinite arabesque that repeats in all directions
Art of the Book • Students will present • Parallels illuminated manuscripts in Europe • More figurative embellishment allowed • Persian miniatures • Islamic emphasis on Qur’an
Qur’an Frontspiece, Cairo Egypt, 1368 CE. Nonfigural designs from Mamluk Egypt Intricate designs paralleled What????
Caliph Harun Al Rashid Visits Turkish Bath Kamal al Din-Bihzad From Herart School of Miniature painting in western Afghanistan Bihzad paintings illustrated Khamsa Five Poems. Bathhouse accepted from Roman society in Islamic world in Turkey, Jordan.
Another Bihzad miniature Shirin sees Khusraus Portrait
Tugra of Sultan Suleyman Istanbul, Turkey 16th Century, Ottoman Empire Ink, paint, and gold on paper Tugras combined the ruler’s name with the phrase Eternally Victorious Tugras appeared on seals, coints, buildings, edicts Body design may have been inspired by Chinese ceramics FLASHCARDS
Flashcard Recognize Court of the Lions Court of the Lions, Alhambra, Granada, Spain; 14th Century City of Gardens .. Islamic palace set in gardens. Complex citadel with dramatic views, miradors (lookout windows). Beautiful ceiling with clustered muqarnas 8 pointed star ceiling (next image)
Muqarnas Dome, hall of the Abencerrajes, Palace of the Lions, Alhambra