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What Exactly is Islamic Art?

What is meant by term ‘Islamic Art?’

What is meant by term ‘Islamic Art?’

Although this subject has been covered numerous times, it’s still nice to look back at it through different perspectives. Today, art is being used as a medium for peaceful campaigns to bring communities together, for instance, the “Make your mark” and “Who is Muhammad” campaigns run by Ahlan Art in the past. However, what is Islamic art? Islamic art is not just The Dome of the Rock, the Taj Mahal, a decorated bowl, a Persian silk carpet or a scripture. Islamic art is a modern concept created by art historians in the 19th century to categorise and study of the material first produced in Arabia in the seventh century.

The term Islamic art is not merely used to describe religious art or architecture, but it applies to all forms of art produced in the Islamic world. Thus the term Islamic art also refers to work created by those of all faiths who were or are living in Islamic countries, which is dissimilar to Christian art, Jewish art and Buddhist art which mainly refer to the art of its faith only.

One of the most distinguished monuments of Islamic art is the Taj Mahal, a royal mausoleum, based in Agra, India. The Mughals once dominated large areas of modern-day India for centuries, therefore India houses a vast range of Islamic art and architecture. Verily Islamic art and architecture was and still is created through the synthesis of local traditions, taking into account the various cultures and languages.

Islamic art is not a monolithic style or movement, meaning it’s not slow to change. It spreads 1,300 years of history and geographic diversity, each city exceedingly different from the first. The Islamic empires controlled territories from Spain to China at various points of history. However, few countries or Muslim empires did not refer their art to Islamic, instead, they introduced their work by country or city I.e. Lebanese or Damascene and not Islamic.

Engare – a video game about the mathematical beauty of Islamic art

The prominent themes used countlessly throughout Islamic art is calligraphy and geometry (to name a few). Calligraphy plays an important role in the Islamic art world. The Quran, written in elegant script attained in calligraphy, is recreated in many different form of art and architecture. Likewise, poetry can be found on everything from decorations to walls.

Geometric and vegetal design repetitions are known as arabesque and to this day are very popular throughout the lands where Islam was or still is the prominent religion. Its architectural influences appear in private palaces and grand buildings to name a few the Alhambra in Spain, Kensington Palace Gardens designed by Owen Jones who was greatly influenced by Islamic architecture of Egypt, Turkey and Spain and The Leighton Home’s Arab Hall inspired by Islamic art from different periods.

Today the Parameters of Islamic art is expanding to include contemporary works. Muslim societies strongly believe that Islamic art has been presented by diversity and openness to fresh ideas. Artists acknowledge cultural taste, but change is pervasive. They adapt to both worlds dedicating parts of their paintings to suit different tastes.

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