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TonyJ

The Earliest Surviving Islamic Art & Architecture

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I have always loved Islamic Architecture, buildings like the Alhambra in Spain inspired me so much to learn more about Islamic history when I was a kid.

 

I am really interested in learning about the development of Islamic art & architecture. What did the Masjids look like at the time of Muhammad? What about Pre-Islamic Arabian architecture? How did that look? It seems that most of the pictures that I can find online are of Masjids that were built over and redesigned so many times that it is a mystery what they may have looked like originally. Apparently the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem was built in 691 AD and is considered the oldest extant Islamic building in the world. But I am skeptical that it actually looked the same as it does today back then. It must have been renovated many times since then seeing as it looks brand new now.

 

The Ummayad Masjid of Mosul was apparently built in 640 AD, even older than the Dome of the Rock, but the current version must be a rebuild over the original structure, otherwise it could claim to be older than the Dome of the Rock.

 

Also I am interested in seeing some of the earliest surviving pieces of art from the Islamic era, it seems like most of the Islamic Art that i see in books or on the internet is from the IlKhanate and Ottoman periods (13th-15th centuries). In that period they seemed to ignore the prescriptions against depicting human beings so it is possible to get a glimpse of how people looked and dressed in that era. But the way people looked and dressed at the time of Muhammad is somewhat of a mystery to me as there are no artistic depictions of people from that time.

 

So anyway, this thread is for posting images of the earliest Islamic art and architecture that is known. I myself cannot even post pictures because I need to reach 50 posts first. Buit when I do, I will contribute what I find too.

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This site has some good pics taken with a 360 deg panoramic camera.

 

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Edited by mrhyder

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I found this book on the web:

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_mazdapublisher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/BookDetails.aspx?BookID=303"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_mazdapublisher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/BookDetails.aspx?BookID=303[/url]

Abbas Daneshvari Art and Architecture

Of Serpents and Dragons in Islamic Art

 

Description

In the medieval Muslim world, the dragon was the most frequently represented fabulous beast. This applied across styles and media and in both sacred and secular contexts. Yet its prominence is marked by seemingly contradictory representations. Like Plato’s "Pharmakon," the dragon was imbued with antithetical meanings: as it stood for both the darkness of the eclipse and the light of God, the satanic and the divine, the transcendent and the earthly. The "yin" and the "yang" of Islam were embodied in the dragon, whose fire was the hell of destruction and also the blessed light of the divine. The dragon thus represented one of those exceptional and mysterious symbols that explained the more baffling phenomena such as creation, chaos and order, furthermore signifying amalgamations of dichotomous forces whose balance made life and the understanding of life possible.

 

Through rigorous and extensive research of historical, literary and exegetical sources, Daneshvari explores the dual symbolism of this intriguing central motif of Islamic iconography. Research to date has focused on the dark side of this mythical creature, as an eclipse monster, but here, "Of Serpents and Dragons in Islamic Art," seeks to re-balance this. Representations of dragons on Masjids and other holy structures, gateways to cities, the thrones of rulers, the wings of angels and candleholders are perplexing if the dragon is viewed only as a threatening or demonic icon. Daneshvari solves this puzzle by arguing that the dragon’s primary meaning is as a producer and a symbol of light and protection.

 

He further investigates the astrocosmological significance of dragon's iconography, its diverse hybrid appearances and the double-edged metaphor of opium that represented both the dragon and the only cure to its fiery bite. Identifying the dragon as signifier of the navel of the Earth, or the place of God’s creation, it also resolves one of its most mystifying representations – flanking the enthroned ruler. This book is a ground-breaking and original contribution and essential reading for scholars and researchers of Islamic and Art History.

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