Art and Architecture

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

in The Oxford History of Islam

Published in print December 1999 | ISBN: 9780195107999
Published online November 2007 |
 						 Art and Architecture

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This chapter takes a thematic approach that emphasizes the common features that unite much Islamic art over the continents and centuries. Five themes have been chosen: the art of writing; aniconism, the absence of figures; the decorative themes of arabesque and geometry; the exuberant use of color; and the notion of willful ambiguity. Each of these themes may not appear in every work of Islamic art, but collectively define an aesthetic approach that makes Islamic art distinct from the artistic traditions of surrounding regions and cultures.

Keywords: Islam; Islamic art; writing; aniconism; decoration; arabesque; geometry; color; willful ambiguity

Chapter.  16452 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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