234 Module 5 Early Medieval Art Class Discussion 2 Islamic Art and Icons


Do some research on Islamic  Art and Architecture.

Post examples of art and architecture from the Islamic world.

I would also like you to explore what rules against specific image making is found in the Quran, or other religious texts. 


How has this led to destruction of certain images by fundamentalists throughout the history of art?

Start with the Lumen Learning Art History I text_

Chapter 13 The Arts of the Islamic World

Here is the introduction: Introduction to Islamic Art_Chapter 13:

The Problem of Islamic Art

The Dome of the Rock, the Taj Mahal, a Mina’i ware bowl, a silk carpet, a Qur‘an: all of these are examples of Islamic Art. But what is Islamic Art?

Islamic Art is a modern concept, created by art historians in the nineteenth century to categorize and study the material first produced under the Islamic peoples that emerged from Arabia in the seventh century.

Today Islamic Art describes all of the arts that were produced in the lands where Islam was the dominant religion or the religion of those who ruled. Unlike the terms Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist art, which refer only to religious art of these faiths, Islamic art is not used merely to describe religious art or architecture, but applies to all art forms produced in the Islamic World.

You may choose to start with any of the works of art and architecture in the Lumen text.

A very valuable secondary source is The Metropolitan Museum of Art Islamic Art Collection.


Here is a link to the Museum’s Islamic Art Blog:


Here is an example from the Metropolitan’s collection on Islamic art:

Watch the video on the art of holy books in the Islamic world:


Power and Piety: Islamic Talismans on the Battlefield



Secrets of Alhambra, Granada, Spain


Because they depict a holy and infinite presence, not the temporal physical world, icons avoid direct reference to earthly reality, to specific time or place. Instead, backgrounds are dematerialized with shimmering gold, settings are schematized, and figures often appear timeless and static.

The effect is that some tiles are hit by light, while some other tiles may be in shadow. I have been in this church, and as the sun moves outside during the day, the tiles “shimmer”. It creates a sort of early medieval movie, it brings the mosaic to life.

The idea is that the mosaic goes through transformation as light moves through the room. In the caves from the prehistoric art period, torchlight deep in the caves brought the animals to life, and seemed to be a mystical experience.

In this room the mosaic art, and light created a mystical experience.

Post to the discussion articles, websites; and examples of Islamic art and architecture.

I am adding links to an artist who has depicted the destruction in Iraq, and Syria.

A Syrian artist and architect, Mohamad Hafez was born in Damascus, raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and educated in the Midwestern United States. Expressing the juxtaposition of East and West within him, Hafez’s art reflects the political turmoil in the Middle East through the compilation of found objects, paint and scrap metal. Using his architectural skills, Hafez creates surrealistic Middle Eastern streetscapes that are architectural in their appearance yet politically charged in their content.



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