By Mohammed Hamdouni Alami
What's "art" within the feel of the Islamic culture? Mohammed Hamdouni Alami argues that Islamic paintings has traditionally been excluded from Western notions of paintings; that the Western aesthetic tradition's preoccupation with the human physique has intended that Islamic and Western artwork being perceived as inherently at odds. notwithstanding, the circulation clear of this "anthropomorphic aesthetic" in Western artwork events, comparable to glossy summary and constructivist portray, have offered the chance for brand new methods of viewing and comparing Islamic paintings and structure. Drawing upon classical Arabic literature, philosophy, poetry, medication and theology, in addition to modern Western paintings conception, the writer uncovers a particular Islamic theoretical imaginative and prescient of paintings and structure in line with poetic perform, politics, hope and the "gaze." In so doing, he addresses the shortcoming of popularity given to early Islamic notion and aesthetics compared to different historic classes and traditions.
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Extra info for Art and Architecture in the Islamic Tradition: Aesthetics, Politics and Desire in Early Islam (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)
These poetical characteristics occupy a prominent place in the book, and often stand as proof of what al-Jāḥiẓ presents as truths about the lives and ways of animals. 10 Yet, despite these philosophical references, al-Jāḥiẓ invariably grounds his arguments in religious beliefs. In fact, Islamic theology remains the ultimate source of evidence for his arguments about the lives and ways of animals. Two characteristics of Kitāb al-Ḥayawān make it relevant to the study of art and architectural history.
69 The ruins had been there for centuries, but only with the Renaissance did they suddenly become meaningful. Their rediscovery had to do with a cultural change of attitude at the end of the Middle Ages. 70 In this chapter I explore the implications of that early debate on architecture. Taking the lead from an account by al-Jāḥiẓ, I attempt to follow the line of interpretation it suggests in terms of a ‘double’ attitude towards architectural decoration. I discuss its implications for the history of Umayyad architecture, with particular emphasis on the social dimension of architecture, considered as an expression of the complex social reception of royal architectural works, and as a tool for understanding the social dynamics that made possible the flourishing of architectural works at certain times and their virtual preclusion at other times.
The theory of al-bayān is thus presented at the beginning of the book, in turn establishing the privileged position of human beings. As for our concerns, it is remarkable that al-Jāḥiẓ cites calligraphy and architecture among the means of al-bayān. ARCHITECTURE AND MEANING: AL-JĀḤIẒ’S VIEW To understand how, in the view of al-Jāḥiẓ, architectural works or buildings engender meaning it is necessary to grasp the complex system of al-bayān. Al-Jāḥiẓ’s discussion of architectural decoration and adornment is inscribed within a broader argu38 ARCHITECTURE AND MEANING IN THE THEORY OF AL-JĀḤIẒ ment about the importance of writing and the benefits of the book and a reflection on the place of meaning in language.
Art and Architecture in the Islamic Tradition: Aesthetics, Politics and Desire in Early Islam (Library of Modern Middle East Studies) by Mohammed Hamdouni Alami