The Formation of Islamic Art: Revised and Enlarged Edition

The Formation of Islamic Art: Revised and Enlarged Edition

Oleg Grabar

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0300040466

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This classic work on the nature of early Islamic art has now been brought up to date in order to take into consideration material that has recently come to light. In a new chapter, Oleg Grabar develops alternate models for the formation of Islamic art, tightens its chronology, and discusses its implications for the contemporary art of the Muslim world. Reviews of the first edition: "Grabar examines the possible ramifications of sociological, economic, historical, psychological, ecological, and archaeological influences upon the art of Islam. . . [He] explains that Islamic art is woven from the threads of an Eastern, Oriental tradition and the hardy, surviving strands of Classical style, and [he] illustrates this web by means of a variety of convincing and well-chosen examples."-Art Bulletin "A book of absorbing interest and immense erudition. . . All Islamic archaeologists and scholars will thank Professor Grabar for a profound and original study of an immense and complex field, which may provoke controversy but must impress by its mastery and charm by its modesty."-Times Literary Supplement "Oleg Grabar, in this book of exceptional subtlety and taste, surveys and extends his own important contributions to the study of early Islamic art history and works out an original and imaginative approach to the elusive and complex problems of understanding Islamic art."-American Historical Review

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presence of the caHph Umar himself for the signing of the treaty of and once the treaty was signed Umar, accompanied by the patriarch Sophronius, was led through the city. As this tour of the Holy City was endowed by later writers with a series of more or less legendary incidents, it is not easy to ascertain what happened. Most sources early or late, Muslim or not seem to agree on two points. First, Umar was intent on seeing one specific site in the Holy City. All sources agree on that, and,

Jerusalem transmitted by Ya'qubi and — They would have transformed what had been others. a religious- an unsettled point of religious lore into a religious-political act of impiety intended to strike at the very foundation of one of the "pillars of Islam." Thus did the later propaganda political act entailing machine of the Abbasids attempt to mies of the faith in a manner only too Umayyads as enereminiscent of our own prac- show the tices today. From the consideration of the

clothes, especially The other side shows a niche around a standing George Miles has suggested that it is the image of in the headgear. lance (fig. 15). a mihrab, the niche in a mosque symbolizing (which will be discussed in detail in the next chapter), 'anazah, the lance that was one of and caliphal power. There the Prophet's place and of the the formal symbols of Prophetic doubt about the correctness of the interpretation given to the lance. It is perhaps less certain that the

space reserved for Muslims from the external world, and there was hardly a symbol or sign on the outside that would indicate the nature of the building. Gates or doors began to appear in the western Islamic world in the latter part of the ninth century, but they are rare. In the mosques of Samarra and in the mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo, outer walls acquired a crenellation and an organized system of windows and openings that served to alleviate the monotony of a blank wall. Elsewhere a brick

Muslim until today was taken over, and it is essential to note that with minor exceptions in the West (notably Sicily, conquered between 827 and 902) and in Central Asia or northwestern India, this geographical entity hardly changed until the eleventh century. The taking over of this area was not, however, the result of a single burst of conquest as in the forces at the skirmish of Talas. this core of the land which was to remain case, for instance, of later Mongol invasions. It was rather

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