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The problem is whether these uniquenesses of Islamic art, when compared with other artistic traditions, are the result of the nature of Islam or of some other factor or series of factors.These preliminary remarks suggest at the very outset the main epistemological peculiarity of Islamic art: it consists of a large number of quite disparate traditions that, when seen all together, appear distinguishable from what surrounded them and from what preceded them through a series of stylistic and thematic characteristics.Each artistic tradition has tended to develop its own favourite mediums and techniques.
The more unfortunate point is that the thousands of fragments that have remained have not yet been studied in a sufficiently systematic way, and in only a handful of instances has it been possible to relate individual fragments to known texts.
This mood or flavour has been called decorative, for it seems at first glance to emphasize an immense complexity of surface effects without apparent meanings attached to the visible motifs.
But it has other characteristics as well: it is often colourful, both in architecture and in objects; it avoids representations of living things; it gives much prominence to the work of artisans and counts among its masterpieces not merely works of architecture or of painting but also the creations of weavers, potters, and metalworkers.
Other techniques, on the other hand, acquire varying forms and emphases.
Sculpture in the round hardly existed as a major art form, and, although such was also the case of all Mediterranean arts at the time of Islam’s growth, one does not encounter the astounding rebirth of sculpture that occurred in the West.
In order to answer whether there is an aesthetic, iconographic, or stylistic unity to the visually perceptible arts of Islamic peoples, it is first essential to realize that no ethnic or geographical entity was Muslim from the beginning.