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"Islamic Art is characterised by variety". Is this true?

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Introduction

ESSAY TITLE: "Islamic Art is characterised by variety". Is this true? "And of His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colours. In that, surely, are Signs for those who have knowledge." (Qur'an, al-Rum: 23) Islam is an entire way of life, with Islamic Art playing an integral part in this. Extending from North Africa to Southeast Asia, it links together "disparate communities through a range of common cultural values."1 A range of styles are achieved, all contributing to the vast scope of Islamic Art.; thus, creating a richly diverse, yet unified concept. This diversity, 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. ...read more.

Middle

life to their works and will suffer from their incapacity to do so."3 "God likes that when you do anything, you do it excellently" (Hadith) Such sayings have impassioned the artists and artisans of the Muslim world to transform everyday objects into things of real beauty. From the ordinary bowl (Monochrome lustre-painted, late 10th century Egyptian),4 to a beautiful prayer rug ('Bellini-style', early 16th century)5 to the striking architecture we see in the Great Mosque of Isfahan. "Muslim artists transformed everyday objects into artistic masterpieces."6 Islamic Art is therefore, inexhaustibly diverse, with an almost infinite number of art forms. Variety is 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. ...read more.

Conclusion

attempt to fix it, the patterns endlessly mutate into different geometrical arrangements."14 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 Alhambra15, is quite different to another, such as the detail found on the minbar in the Arslanbane Mosque in Ankara (1289 - 90)16. Haven explored the extent to which this diversity reaches, it is important to try and understand the reasons behind this occurrence. "....extremely varied manifestations of Islamic Art, over vast expanses of space and time"17 Both 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 civilisation gradually expanding to cover a large area of land, enveloping many cultures, a series of local styles were added to Islamic Art. Islamic Art stresses "the unity inherent in diversity, and the diversity that flows from unity. ...read more.

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