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By Mohammed Hamdouni Alami

What's "art" within the experience of the Islamic culture? Mohammed Hamdouni Alami argues that Islamic artwork has traditionally been excluded from Western notions of artwork; that the Western aesthetic tradition's preoccupation with the human physique has intended that Islamic and Western artwork being perceived as inherently at odds. even if, the stream clear of this "anthropomorphic aesthetic" in Western paintings routine, reminiscent of glossy summary and constructivist portray, have offered the chance for brand spanking 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 thought, the writer uncovers a selected Islamic theoretical imaginative and prescient of artwork and structure in line with poetic perform, politics, hope and the "gaze." In so doing, he addresses the inability of popularity given to early Islamic notion and aesthetics compared to different historic classes and traditions.

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Additional info for Art and Architecture in the Islamic Tradition: Aesthetics, Politics and Desire in Early Islam (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)

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59 Thus, historical evidence contradicts Papadopoulo’s argument. But does this mean that the problem of classifying major and 22 INTRODUCTION minor forms of art remains unsolved? Or does it instead mean that each period elected a medium for that purpose? In reality, ‘there are no unsolvable problems, there are only false problems’, as the historian of science Gaston Bachelard once said. And, of course, false problems do not have answers. ’ In the case of early epochs of Islamic history, my argument is that it is inappropriate to separate architecture, painting, and mosaics.

9 In other words, decoration has a divisive effect both on the unity of the soul and its concentration on God’s ways. And, as I shall discuss later in the chapter, poetry and song were also understood to possess such powers of sway and discord. Architecture, like poetry and song, were thus condemned by zealots. Yet, while there is a well-documented debate about the lawfulness of music and song, a far less evidenced one concerns architecture. Evidence of a debate on architectural decoration challenges the established view of the formation of architecture (and decoration itself) in the Islamic world as a process lacking any theoretical or doctrinal basis, and provides new ground for a discussion of its development and meaning.

29 This recourse to the hand inscribes the process of al-bayān in a necessary relationship to the body. The body occupies a prominent place in the accomplishment of al-ishāra, and thus a role in refining the clarity, precision and quality of al-bayān. Al-khaṭ (writing) may not rely only on the hand with regard to the clarity, readability or precision of what it communicates, yet its very existence depends on the hand. The corporal condition of al-bayān is especially apparent when one considers the effects of vocal deficiency.

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