Islamic Art: An Exhibit

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It’s safe to say that the visual arts have always been an extremely inspirational medium to me. This is especially true when it comes to Islamic Art. The heavy use of geometrical forms and the rhythm of mingling patterns that move in harmony with passages from the Quran.

Traditionally, many schools of Islamic thought have avoided the use of human figures in their artistic endeavors; Sharia law even forbids the use. Perhaps to keep ones practice of Islam clear and void of idolatry. The resulting style became known as Arabesque playing hugely on vegetal, geometric, and scriptural elements. And this only scratches the surface. Other schools of thought, inspired by the Chinese and Mongols, did, in fact include depictions of men and women at the time.

So it’s clear that, like many genres, Islamic art can’t be neatly defined and the pieces i’ve brought to the board today span many centuries and borders.

Now, before I digress once again, I present a powerful collection of Islamic art currently on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art here in Kansas City, Missouri.

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 Folios From a Qur’an. Abbasid Period (750-1258 C.E.)

Ink and Gold on Vellum. Arabic language using the Kufic script.

IMG_2247Couple Standing Among Flowering Trees.

Tabriz, Iran, Turkman School. 1480 C.E

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

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Today’s Life and War 6

Gohar Dashti- Iranian (2008)

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Tile with Inscription

Iran. Seljuk Period ( 1038-1220s)

Ceramic w/ turquoise glaze

hands

Stories of Martyrdom (Women of Allah)

Shiran Neshat

Iranian (1994)

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Bowl

Iran. Seljuk Period (1038-1250s)

Fritware with opaque turquoise glaze

IMG_2252

Detailed shot of Mosaic from an arched entrance portal known as an iwan.

Isfahan, Iran. Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722)

Glazed ceramic tile and gold leaf.

IMG_2255

Paper Plates

Hamra Abbas- Pakistani (2008)

Paper collage

The exhibit goes on to include textiles, more ceramics, and even a short animated film which plays on the colonial occupation of India. A great display of the wide variations in Islamic art through time and space.

So, I absolutely urge you to pay a visit to the Nelson-Atkins. That is… if you’re in Kansas City already!

Yallah-bye

About Nicholas Andriani

In 2012 I bought a one-way ticket to Casablanca, Morocco, sold my car, picked up an Arabic dictionary and enrolled in an archaeological field school in the Middle East. As a student of archaeology, driven by the desire to see every inch of this planet (borders and politics be damned), I set out to get to the bottom of who I am and what I want from this world. Traveling mostly on foot I hitchhiked around North Africa, hiked Spain’s Mediterranean coast , caught a plane to Egypt where I wandered across Sinai into the Middle East and settled in Jordan, living amongst Bedouin and colleagues working on an excavation. Intrigued by the crisis in Syria I began tagging along with journalists, who were anticipating the extreme force that was to come, before making my way into Palestine and Israel where I found a land cloaked in obscurity and experienced a full paradigm shift. Landlocked I caught a plane to Greece and roamed the ancient landscapes, island-hopping my way to Turkey. Experienced the best of Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul. And with one final burst of energy, found my way back home to the States.This is my story, and those to come. Posts are not sorted chronologically, rather they find their way to the blogosphere when I feel it’s high time they make their debut. Between travels i’ll be working on my first book. A memoir titled “Yallah, Bye“ in which i’ll recount my wild days abroad during the Arab spring. Finding love, loss, and culture shock a way of life, a right of passage. I’ll be diving into anthropology, foodie nonsense, history, and daily life of the worlds I had the good fortune to visit. Thanks for taking your time to visit my page and be sure to say “hello”! -Nicholas Andriani
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11 Responses to Islamic Art: An Exhibit

  1. anitagabb says:

    Its called “khat” or Islamic calligraphy. Some of it was written really beautifully. Been to Islamic Museum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which just next to the National Mosque and the khat on display are really really artsy.

  2. juhinasaeed says:

    Pretty awesome.. Thanks for sharing 😊

  3. I love your blog! Very interesting and insightful posts!

  4. Kadri says:

    Great reading, thanks for sharing.

  5. Khai says:

    If you have the chance, you should also take a look at Kuala Lumpur’s Museum of Islamic Arts! Great collections too :)

  6. doronart says:

    Interesting trip to a world of culture that never stand still and hopefully will be peaceful for all one day. Thanks for visiting and inviting to see yours also.

    • Absolutely. It’s an extremely lovely world out there if you’re willing to take the time and appreciate it for what it is, especially so for the Middle East. Peace will come, one day. I hope were around the witness it. Thank for stopping by!

      • doronart says:

        What great words I would love to be around in such important day if people will appreciate each other and not for land space and religion but for the human super qualities. Thank you for taking time to visit and comment.

  7. Louise Ross says:

    Beautiful artifacts in this post. I’ll have to wander back through the Atkins soon. Thanks for sharing.

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