September 22, 2021

Introduction to Islamic art

Introduction to Islamic art
Picture taken at Medersa Bou Inania (Fes, Morocco)

Islamic art encompasses the visual art created by Muslims and non-Muslims who lived in Muslim countries. This art has gone through numerous style iterations in different countries from the 7th century onward. Thus, it's not very simple to define it.

Islamic art was inspired by Roman, early Christian, Byzantine, and Sassanian arts. Besides all these influences, China also had an important impact on Islamic painting, pottery, and textiles.

Some Muslim scholars  forbid the representation of animate beings because of the belief in Islam that only God can create living forms. Hence, the use of calligraphic, geometric, and abstract floral patterns was way more supported. However, in the secular art of the Muslim world, the depiction of human and animal forms was present in most Muslim cultures. Conservative muslims were against it, so figures in paintings were stylized, which led to the rise of decorative figural designs.

Islamic artwork is known for its   repetitive motifs known as arabesques. This type of design is often used to symbolize the infinite nature of God. It uses  three main elements: floral motifs, geometric designs, and calligraphy. These components can be represented on ceramics, paintings, wood, metal...

In future posts, we will dive deeper into  the history of this art and its different forms.

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Research sources:

  • https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-arthistory/chapter/introduction-to-islamic-art/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_art