Content Area 3: Early Europe and Colonial Americas. European Islamic Art

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1 Content Area 3: Early Europe and Colonial Americas European Islamic Art

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3 Historical Background By 750 CE, under the Umayyad Dynasty, North Africa, the Middle East, parts of Spain, India, and Central Asia was converted to, or under the influence of Islam. Split of Muslim world occurred in 13 th century after the 1258 sack of Bagdad by the Mongols. East-South and Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey. West-Near East, Arabic peninsula, North Africa, parts of Sicily and Spain. Two main divisions of Islam-Sunni and Shiite. Secular and religious patronage most important is calligraphy, used to transmit the texts revealed to God by Muhammad. Kufic script is reserved for official texts, but not the only in the Qur an. Arabesques, calligraphy, and tessellation are the three main decorations used in Islamic art. Geometric and natural patterns radiate from a central point, but can begin from anywhere, and can have endless inference on repetition. Tradition of avoiding imagery, although it is not actually banned in the Qur an.

4 Islamic Architecture All mosques are oriented towards Mecca because Muslims pray towards Mecca 5x per day. The qiblah, or direction, to Mecca is marked with a mihrab, an empty niche used to direct a worshippers attention. Muezzins call people to prayer from minarets which have an internal staircase with a gallery at the top.

5 56. Great Mosque Cordoba, Spain Umayyad c CE Stone masonry 8th century Muslim rule. Roman temple, Christian Church, converted and reconstructed to what we see today. Umayyad caliphate. Orange groves in central courtyard. *Great Mosque

6 *Great Mosque arches *Great Mosque plan *mihrab Hypostyle hall-200 years with double arched columns-alternating bands of color; light and airy interior; no central focus. Original wooden ceiling replaced by vaulting. repeated geometry Spolia used=recycled ancient Roman columns; short columns made ceilings low. Horseshoe arch (Visigoths); now a characteristic of Islamic architecture Dome over mihrab with elaborate squinches. Kufic calligraphy (earlier form of Arabic) on walls.

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8 65. Alhambra Granada, Spain Nasrid Dynasty CE Whitewashed adobe stucco, wood, tile, paint, and gilding Nasrid sultans are last Muslims to rule in Spain. 1 mile of walls and thirty towers of varying size enclose this city, built on a hill. Light, airy interiors; fortresslike exterior 26 acres include a residence, citadel, barracks, medina (city), all connected by paths, gardens, and gates that could be blocked in the event of a threat. 3 royal palaces on the complex. Geometric patterns with curvilinear design dominate interior design program.

9 Center feature is a fountain with a hydraulic system situated at the intersection of two water channels that form a cross. The fountain itself is a large marble basic with marble lions for its base. Slender columns=weightlessness Intricately patterned and sculpted ceilings and walls. Parts of the walls are chiseled through to create light patterns within. *Court of the Lions

10 Residential apartment (room on second floor) Muqarnas-intricately carved system of brackets that hold up the vaulted ceiling muqarnas refract the light coming in through 16 windows. Star motifs Generalife-outside of palace walls there is an emphasis on water and gardens (passage 2:25 in the Koran) Connection between the exterior and interior through water and patios. Video in notes *Alhambra plan *Hall of the Sisters

11 84. Mosque of Selim II Edirne, Turkey Sinan (architect) CE Brick and stone *Mosque of Selim II plan *Mosque of Selim II Constructed in the architect s favorite city. Former capital of Ottoman empire, first stop for travelers. Building the large mosque would dominate the skyline; part of a larger complex with a hospital, library, and school. Thin, soaring minarets; lots of windows; extensive mosaic and tile work; octagonal interior w/ central plan inspired by Hagia Sophia.

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13 More than the length of two football fields. Muqarnas Squinches Muzzin s platform is in the center. Geometric *Mosque of Selim II

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15 57. Pyxis of al-mughira Umayyad c. 968 CE Ivory Calligraphic inscription identifies the owner, asks Allah for blessings, and tells us the function of the pyxis. A pyxis is a container for expensive aromatics. Gift for the caliph s younger son. Horror vacui-fear of empty space. Vegetal and geometric motifs. 8 scenes show leisure activities of the royal court hunting, falconry, sports, music. Al-Andalus(Islamic Spain) ANICONIC-absence of human figures.

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