Until recently, it has been believed that the production of Islamic art ceased around the year 1800; it has become apparent that it has continued to evolve into the 19th century and the modern age, with contemporary artists making connections to Islamic artistic traditions.
In the cities of Cairo, Aleppo, and Damascus, architecture and art flourished under the patronage of Mamluk rulers (1250 – 1517) made rich by trade. Elaborate lamps, pulpits, and stands holding Qur’an manuscripts were present in mosques and tombs. Many ornate objects made from brass heavily inlaid with silver and copper, were used at court.
From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the Islamic world was ruled by three great empires. Though these empires experienced times of conflict, they were continually engaged in mercantile and diplomatic interactions with one another.
Early Islamic art is best encapsulated from the 8th to 10th centuries. That span of time was rife with great political shifts and the gradual creation of an artistic tradition unique to Islamic communities. When the Muslim state conquered the culturally sophisticated regions of land that belonged to the Byzantine and Sasanian empires in the 7th century, it absorbed the culture in those regions as well, helped shape and develop Islamic art.
Ink defines forms and articulates detail on nearly all Islamic art that takes place on paper. The Qur’an and the Hadith directly connect ink with Creation as Islamic tradition says that first thing God created was the pen. The Hadith refers to sayings attributed to Muhammad and the Qur’an is the collection of Islamic scriptures. In Islamic culture, ink is also associated with morality and intellect, and it is considered a sacred practice to copy scripture from the Qur’an in ink.
The people of Jacksonville will have a chance to experience the fusion of Islamic tradition and contemporary artistry that is Riyaaz Qawwali this summer. The concert is an extension of Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston that will run until Sunday, September 3.
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