DIGITAL IMAGE SET: Survey of Islamic Art
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Set Description and Contents:
The term "Islamic art" does not describe the art of any one specific time period, particular people, or place; it is neither a style nor a movement. It covers the art of a vast geographical region of predominately Islamic faith, which ranges from the Atlantic to Indian Oceans and from the Central Asian steppes to equatorial Africa. Introduce your students the cultures, history, and art of Islamic lands in this digital set.
45 Digital Images with Teaching Support
- JPEG images in Projection, Screen, and Thumbnail sizes
- Historical information about each artist and artwork
- Cultural context to support art history and art appreciation programs
- Bibliography and Web Resources
Set Sections and Sample Text
After the rapid spread of Islam in the seventh century, Muslims needed buildings for their Friday meetings. In established cities, they often took over, bought, or shared places of worship with Christians. In newer cities, they built structures using Muhammad's house in Medina as a model. The house had three features that became required in buildings used for communal prayer: a praying space or hall, a way to indicate the direction of Mecca (the qibla), and covered areas for protection from the weather. These buildings are called "mosques," from the Arabic masjid, which means place of prostration.
Book Arts, Painting, and Photography
Manuscripts of the Koran were often illuminated with carpet page-like decoration. But God's word was never illustrated with pictures. Pictures were used in other kinds of books, especially scientific works. The proliferation of such illustrated books is evidence of the popularity of the genre. The interest in secular society and collections of histories of the reigns of certain rulers provides an interesting glimpse at everyday life in the Islamic world.
Ceramics, Glass, Metalwork, and Woodwork
Decorative arts were at their finest and most inventive during the middle period of Islamic History. In the centuries before book illustration became the important medium of pictorial representation, ceramics, glass, metalwork, ivory, textiles, and woodcarving were the major vehicles for representation in Islamic art. .
Textiles were particularly important for nomads, who used material to carry their belongings. As nomadic groups entered into mainstream Islamic society, their tent types were adapted for use by the wealthy, varying in size and the luxury of materials used. Four fibers were used for textiles in Islamic lands: wool and linen around the Mediterranean, and cotton and silk in Asia.
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