Introduction to Muslim art and architecture

In this essay I will speak about the exhibits and shows I viewed on my recent visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum. It was a truly oculus opening experience. It opened up a new dimension of Islam which I had non considered antecedently. I had ne’er known there was any kind of art or architecture in Islam. I had ever thought of museums as truly deadening topographic points. At first, I was truly doubting but shortly was fascinated by the artifacts. I shall depict the most dramatic and outstanding artifacts I saw and some information I learnt about them.

In the Victoria and Albert Museum, I viewed a hearth from the castle of Fuat Pasha. It was made in Istanbul in 1731 CE and is designed in a typical Ottoman manner. An interesting thing to observe here is the on some of the tiles are written some names. These are said to be the names of Ahl Al Kahf. Their narrative is related in the Quran. A group of young persons and their Canis familiaris who were monotheists were being persecuted by the Roman Empire. They sought safety in a cave and prayed to ALLAH ( SWT ) . ALLAH ( SWT ) caused them to kip and they woke up and thought a twenty-four hours had passed. They were weary of being caught and so they elected one of them to acquire nutrient. This young person went carefully and tried to purchase some nutrient. When he tried to pay for it, the store keeper would non accept on history of the money given was expired. Coins like this had non been in usage for 100s of old ages. He rushed back to the cave and told the others. They had really been asleep for 300 old ages! ALLAH ( SWT ) had saved them from their enemy who were destroyed where as they were unharmed. This was a mighty Ayat of the power of ALLAH ( SWT ) and of the world of Resurrection. The utilizing of their names on hearths is to guard off immorality.

Another point which stood out was the minbar which is a mosque dais. It was built in Egypt, most likely Cairo, someplace between 1468 CE to 1496 CE. Its design is in a Mamluk manner. It uses geometric forms which is an implicit in characteristic of Islamic art.

The chief exhibit had to be the Ardabil rug from Ardabil in North Western Iran. The rug is 34 ? pess by 17 ? pess. It is the oldest lasting rug from this period dating back to 1540 CE. It was completed during the regulation of Safavid Shah Tahmasp I the boy of Shah Ismail. Ardabil is a metropolis with a great historical tradition of rug trade and has produced the finest Iranian Rugs of all clip. The rug is symmetrical which is another implicit in characteristic of Islamic art. The xanthous medallion in the Centre is a symbolic representation of the Sun which at that point in clip was assumed to be in the Centre of the existence. Originally this rug was portion of a set of two, and was created for the intent of marking the shrine of Sheikh Safi Al Din Ardabil who was a Sufi maestro in mystical Islam who died in 1334 CE. Shah Ismail, who reunited Iran after many 100s of old ages, founded the Safavid Dynasty named after him and established Shiite Islam as the province faith in 1501 CE.

In the British museum I saw a ceramic gravestone of a Qadi called Jalal Al Din Abdul Malik who passed off around the twelvemonth 1270 CE in Kashan, Iran. He was known as Malik Al Ulama. The gravestone is covered in Arabic penmanship incorporating poetries of the Quran. Ayat Al Kursi is written on the outside frame. The penmanship and frames are painted in Co blue.

The following object I saw was a mosque lamp from the clip of the Ottoman Empire. It can be accurately dated thanks to the lettering which states the name of the creative person every bit good as where and when it was made. The creative person was Musli who produced it in Iznik in Turkey in the twelvemonth 1549 CE. The Ottoman Caliph Suleiman The Magnificent who reigned from 1520-1566 ordered the rebuilding of the Dome Of The Rock in Jerusalem. The lamp was created to adorn the inside. It has three grips and ironss are used to hang the lamp. When lit, the penmanship lights up. The lamp besides displays tulips which are a symbol of the Ottoman Empire. Tulips were used in ornaments everyplace from mosques and castles to vesture. The lamp was discovered in Jerusalem in the nineteenth Century.

I so viewed a gold dinar coin. It is one of the original coins from the clip of the Caliph Abdul Malik of the Umayyad Dynasty. This coin was portion of the Islamic coin system which was established in order to replace Byzantium and Persian coins which were antecedently in usage. This was done because the usage of images on Byzantium and Iranian coins are out. The Islamic coins contained the Kalimah, the basic and most cardinal message of Islam. The coin is dated to 696 CE to 697 CE, likely from Syria.

The last point I would to speak about both because it is the last point I saw and was surely the one point which stood out for me was the carven jade terrapin. It caught my oculus instantly. It is highly graphic. It must hold been carved by a really skilled expert. It originates from Allahabad in Northern India and is dated back to the seventeenth Century. It may perchance hold been created between 1605-1627 during the reign of Selim the boy of the 3rd Mughal Emperor Akbar who reigned from 1556-1605 and a Hindu princess. Akbar built a castle at the Hindu metropolis of Prayag and renamed it Allahabad. Akbar ne’er lived in the castle alternatively giving it to his boy. Selim is known to hold had a captivation with natural phenomenon and this could hold been used as an decoration for the garden pools at his castle. The carven jade terrapin was made from a individual piece of green jade nephrite. It was discovered at the underside of a cistern in the beginning of the nineteenth Century during digging work in Allahabad. How it ended up at that place in the first topographic point is a enigma. It was so transported to England by Alexander Kyd. It was so sold to the British Museum in 1830.

I discovered Islam has a rich diverseness and history. I learnt how Islamic art & A ; architecture is different from other civilizations. I learnt that despite assorted dynasties and epochs, all Islamic art & A ; architecture portion some common cardinal rules. These cardinal rules are that human or carnal figurative representations are non allowed, this is due to the cardinal rule of Islam being Tawheed which is belief in One GOD who is unobserved and nil is like Him so utilizing any images are purely out. This is in blunt contrast to many idol idolizing communities who created ocular images of their Gods such as Ancient Egypt. Another rule is the usage of geometric forms which can be infinitely repeated. Another rule is the usage of Arabic penmanship in order to fancify poetries of the Quran, which can so be used for its ultimate intent, to propagate the faith of Islam. I saw many ancient artifacts of the Islamic universe and saw how art & A ; architecture ties in with the history of great Islamic Empires and Dynasties. Each Dynasty had its ain typical symbols such as tulips for the Ottomans. Each Dynasty has left a go oning bequest through art & A ; architecture such as the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus as a mark of the power and glorification of the Umayyad Dynasty at its extremum. It was a genuinely mind blowing experience. The most of import thing I learnt is that all these objects and artifacts I viewed during my visits to the museums are a portion of my history and heritage.


  • Carved jade terrapin. [ Online ] . ( 2009 ) . British Museum. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 26 December 2009 ] .
  • Ceramic gravestone of Jalal al-DincAbd al-Malik. [ Online ] . ( 2009 ) . British Museum. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 26 December 2009 ] .
  • Mosque lamp. [ Online ] . ( 2009 ) . British Museum. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 26 December 2009 ] .
  • Golddinarof calif Abd al-Malik. [ Online ] . ( 2009 ) . British Museum. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 26 December 2009 ] .
  • PALACE AND MOSQUE: ISLAMIC ART FROM THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM. [ Online ] . ( 2009 ) . Victoria And Albert Museum. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 26 December 2009 ] .
  • Manner In Islamic Art. [ Online ] . ( 2009 ) . Victoria And Albert Museum. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // id=1024 [ Accessed 26 December 2009 ] .
  • The Ardabil Carpet. [ Online ] . ( 2009 ) . Victoria And Albert Museum. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed 26 December 2009 ] .