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

Authors Avatar

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.” 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.

Before moving 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.  

“The term Islamic generally refers to purely religious expressions, such as calligraphy.”

Join now!

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 ...

This is a preview of the whole essay