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Lecture 7: Islamic Art
Oct. 8, 2009
Dating systems
• 5766 Jewish calendar, begins around the time of the creation of the
• 2009 A.D. or 2009 C.E. Christian/Common calendar, pivotal point is
the birth of Christ
• 1431 AH Islamic Calendar, starts with the hegira, or flight of
Muhammad from Mecca to Medina (622 CE)
• BP, a dating system often used in scientific dating, it employs1950
as a starting date and counts backwards from that date, and it is
inapplicable for dates after 1950
I. Introduction to Islam
Abraham and his son Isaac, Ravenna, Church of
San Vitale, 547, mosaic
Muhammad and Islam
• Muhammad, the Prophet, 570- 632 CE born in Mecca
• Qur’an (sometimes spelled Koran), was revealed to Muhammad in
approximately 23 years between 610-632 CE
• In 622 CE Muhammad fled Mecca with his followers and went to
Medina, a desert oasis. This event the Hegira marks the beginning
of the Islamic calendar.
• His followers returned and conquered Mecca in 630 CE
• By Muhammad’s death the Arabian tribes were united and had
joined Islam.
Qur’an. 9th or 10th Century
Islam and Muslim come from words meaning
submission to the will of Allah (God)
Islam is emphatically monotheistic
Daily prayer
Fasting during Ramadan
A pilgrimage to Mecca
Observance of moral code in the Qur’an
Ka’aba, Mecca, Saudi Arabia,
II. The Dome of the Rock
Jerusalem, Western Wall, wall of the foundation of the second Temple 19 B.C.E.
Dome of the Rock, Haram el Sharif, late 7th century
Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock,
late 7th century
Domes of the church of the Holy Sepulchre,
Jerusalem, 326
Ardabil Carpet, Iran 1539-40
Tile, Kashan, 13th century
Tile Panel with Picnic Scene
Earthenware Iran17th century
V. Icons
• Images of Christ or the saints that helped
in worship
• Iconoclastic Controversy, begins 717
• Triumph of Orthodoxy, 843
The Blessing
Christ, 1st half
of the 6th
Icon with the
Triumph of
Orthodoxy c. 1400
III. The Great Friday Mosque
in Cordoba
Great Mosque at Cordoba, Spain begun 786, Ummayyid,
Great Mosque at Cordoba, Spain
begun 786, Umayyid, Caliphate
Dome of the Rock,
Jerusalem, late 7th
century, Umayyid
Qur’an which has blood (purportedly Uthman’s) on
its pages
Great Mosque at Cordoba begun 786, Umayyid,
Great Mosque at Cordoba, dome in front of
the mihrab, 965
Ivory casket, Toledo Spain 11th
Cathedral of Cordoba,
inside the mosque of
Cordoba, 15th Century
IV. Cross currents in religious
Ummayyad Architecture and
Ottoman Adaptations
Western Wall, wall of the foundation of the second Temple 19 B.C.E.
Dome of the Rock, late 7th century
Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus, Hagia Sophia, Constantinople,
532-537, minarets added in the 16th century
Sinan, the Selimiye mosque, Edirne Turkey 1567-74
Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, 532-537, with plaques
with Islamic text