Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ramadan Kareem

Tilework in Isfahan (Ali Moayedian, 2002)

Here is another, more positive association with Islam. Ramadan Kareem Mash, Abu Fares, Mirvat and Zazou.

In an article published in the magazine Science, Peter Lu and Paul Steinhardt of Harvard University have suggested that Muslim artisans were using complex mathematics to help design motifs more than 500 years ago.

It has often been suggested that the Koran prohibited the representation of the living world, thus stimulating the development of abstract geometrical arts. But Muslim painters have produced a large body of fine paintings of people and all sorts of animals. Miniatures produced in Iran and India are one such example of the pictures of animate subjects.

Unlike Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, Islamic art does not have an image of God. The only visual image of God presented in the Koran is that of Nur, meaning light. Since stars are the source of light from the heavens, it was only natural for the artists to decorate religious buildings with patterns dominated by star shapes.

Stars were also important to Arabs in an additional sense as well, because they were dependent upon the constellations to navigate both in the featureless Arabian deserts and on the seas, as Arabs were consummate seafarers

PS.. and I forgot Mahmoud as well. I have not established as much of a rapport/communique with him but his blog/posts and perspectives are very interesting AND outspoken. Another worthwhile read.

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Anonymous Yohay said...

Ramadan kareem!

And, btw, also in Judaism, images of living things are forbidden. That's why Islamic and Jewish art always seems minimalistic, contrary to the beautiful European cathedrals, or the great statues of Budha (in Thailand for example).

6:12 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

you know, minimalistic is beautiful too. I've seen plenty of pagodas and Budha status in Thailand also on a bus tour and I must say, once you've seen a couple, you've seen enough. It's like seeing a ton of churches, or mosques, or synogogues in one week. A few of them is interesting and pretty, but then it's overkill so to speak. There is something to be said for non portrayal. A lot of people have complained that Jesus' portrayal is too 'white', or european looking rather than semitic. Also, however God is depicted, it's interesting to read into such depiction how the culture sees their God. Parochial, angry, benevolent etc..

10:41 AM  

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