plays a vital role in the way of life called Islam. Islam, extending from the
Africa to Asia creates a unique scope of artistic concepts.
however, is contained within a somewhat, restricted framework of techniques.
Here I use the term ‘restricted’ very loosely, as each individual technique can
be applied in such a way as to achieve an almost infinite number of
transformations, for any given art form. I will be discussing this in more
detail during the course of this essay.
on to discuss the huge variety we find in Islamic Art and the factors which
unite this huge concept, I think it is important to clarify what this concept of
‘Islamic Art’ is.
Islamic generally refers to purely religious expressions, such as calligraphy.
Is it art
created by Muslims? Or alternatively, is it art created by people residing in
countries where the dominant religion is Islam? Or should it be confined to the
literal meaning of the word ‘Islamic’? The word ‘Islamic’ means, ‘of Islam’. It
is an expression used to describe the object in question, as being something
which complies with the beliefs and values of the religion, Islam. I will be
using the latter description, to describe the term ‘Islamic Art’. As a result,
all figural works of art will not be included in this study. The reason for this
being evident in the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad in which he
condemned artists who try to
creation of God: in their afterlife they will be ordered to give life to their
works and will suffer from their incapacity to do so.
transformed everyday objects into artistic masterpieces.
Islamic art patterns on Eid cards and posters here.
Islamic Art is
therefore, inexhaustibly diverse, with an almost infinite number of art forms.
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plentiful as it is, but if we break down each art form and analyze the
multiplicity we find within the realms of that particular artistic expression,
we find the world of Islamic Art expanding even further. As I mentioned earlier,
certain restrictions are present, creating a framework within which Islamic Art
is applied. The elements used to achieve this include, arabesque, calligraphy
and geometry. This may seem like a limited number of styles to work with,
reducing the diversity which can be achieved, however, this restriction, far
from impoverishing the expression of Islamic artists, resulted in the raising of
abstract design into an art form, not only of enormous wealth.
Looking at the
fascinating field of calligraphy, we find that many different scripts have
evolved in various regions of the Muslim world, over a vast expanse of time.
These scripts range from Kufic, Naskhi, Thuluth and Diwani. It is clear from
this that this particular element of Islamic Art is almost inexhaustible, given
the various types of Arabic script and the extension of the Islamic culture.
each pattern being generated by a unique and complex system of numbers. The
unique nature of the patterns produced implies the plurality present. No two
patterns are the same, therefore, gaining a diverse attribute. One can delve
deeper into the spirituality connected with Islamic Art by allowing oneself to
contemplate a geometric pattern and allow the gaze to become soft and not
attempt to fix it, the patterns endlessly mutate into different geometrical
The vastness we
begin to encounter within Islamic Art becomes quite unimaginable, extending as
far as one allows it to extend. One geometric Expression, such as the ceiling of
the Comates Hall in Alhambra, is quite different to another, such as the detail
found on the minbar in the Arslanbane Mosque in Ankara.
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the extent to which this diversity reaches, it is important to try and
understand the reasons behind this occurrence.
contributing factors are mentioned here; space and time. The various styles
evolved over long periods of time, with each generation adding to the diversity
in the environment. With the Islamic civilization gradually expanding to cover a
large area of land, enveloping many cultures, a series of local styles were
added to Islamic Art.
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