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New Islamic Art Exhibition Site
April 25, 2007 11:27 PM   Subscribe

The new 'Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean' site incorporates material from 14 countries through 18 exhibition sites that explore the the cultural and artistic heritage of Islamic dynasties spanning 1200 years. [via].
posted by peacay (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very cool. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 11:46 PM on April 25, 2007


Very nice, but surprisingly few examples in each section: eg only three (!) examples of monumental calligraphy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:15 AM on April 26, 2007


UbuRoivas, go back to the monumental calligraphy page and look down the bottom right where it says 'more information'. Click. There are actually more than 600 artefacts depicted in the exhibition in total, chosen by 90 curators. 1200 years worth of productive output deserves more than a couple of minutes of cursory glances I guess.
posted by peacay at 12:24 AM on April 26, 2007


"Islamic Art in the Mediterranean" ... 1200 years old – Is the implication here that we're all Cylons?
posted by vhsiv at 1:15 AM on April 26, 2007


Great find. Thank you.
posted by adamvasco at 4:12 AM on April 26, 2007


When I took a pre-Renaissance art history class we skipped the chapter on Islamic art. Why? Fuck if I know, but thank you for this.
posted by bobobox at 6:27 AM on April 26, 2007


Ooh, I say.
posted by Abiezer at 6:32 AM on April 26, 2007


Back then"The spread of Islam through the Mediterranean did not mean the creation of a uniform religious society or the expulsion of native inhabitants. Indeed, Christians and Jews were permitted to maintain their religious beliefs on the condition that they paid a levy.
Economic activity, especially trade, and cultural exchanges helped to bring different individuals and communities together.
Thus followers of the three monotheistic religions, known in the Qur'an the 'people of the book' (ahl al-kitab), coexisted in the towns and villages of the Muslim West promoting mutual material and intellectual enrichment." and now?
posted by Postroad at 6:34 AM on April 26, 2007


bobobox I've been studying arabic language and Islamic art lately, and it's really hit me just how little of it I was ever exposed to in school. We skipped over those chapters too. It's where civilization began... and yet we are taught so little of it that it shocks me. I don't get it at all, all I can figure is that xenophobia has to somehow be involved. I mean, arabic is the fourth most spoken language in the world and yet only 1-2% of CIA/FBI agents speak ANY of it. Italian is the 21st most spoken language in the world and yet they offered it as a course in my high school. They also offered Russian and Latin. Arabic is never even considered an option. When I tell people I'm taking it now, you should see the doubletakes I get.

Honestly, I am just floored by this stuff. I just shake my head and think about what a different world this would be if people were raised in an environment where we were encouraged to learn, understand & appreciate more about the Middle East. People might have to realize that they're not all evil terrorists and barbarians... that they're people with a rich cultural history & stuff. People prefer to judge other cultures in black & white I suppose... appreciating the beauty in Middle Eastern culture & art would introduce a lot of shades of gray.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:02 AM on April 26, 2007


Indeed, Christians and Jews were permitted to maintain their religious beliefs on the condition that they paid a levy.

Off topic here (great link, by the way). But that levy, or jizya, was in most cases a small amount (today's equivalent of $100 or so) and it actually exempted non-muslims from military conscription.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 AM on April 26, 2007


I've been studying arabic language and Islamic art lately, and it's really hit me just how little of it I was ever exposed to in school. We skipped over those chapters too. It's where civilization began... and yet we are taught so little of it that it shocks me.

What's "where civilization began"? Certainly not "Arabic language and Islamic art." If you're talking about the Middle East, when I was in school we learned about the Sumerians and Egyptians and so on; didn't you?

Oh, and nice post!
posted by languagehat at 10:24 AM on April 26, 2007


Yes, I studied Egypt extensively in college, with some bits of Sumerian art but not all that much. In art school most of the post-primitive art history classes focused more on Florentines, Venetians, Etruscans, Romans & Greeks.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:59 AM on April 26, 2007


To be honest, until traveling there & experiencing things for myself I never even thought of the Middle East as being "mediterranean." I thought of it as just being some place out in the desert somewhere. I was pretty clueless. And my images of Egypt were all from the time of the Pharoahs, not the place it is today.

Thanks to art school, I already knew a Hell of a lot about Italy & Greece when I first went there, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2007


go back to the monumental calligraphy page and look down the bottom right where it says 'more information'. Click. There are actually more than 600 artefacts depicted in the exhibition in total, chosen by 90 curators. 1200 years worth of productive output deserves more than a couple of minutes of cursory glances I guess.

Which is part of the reason why I have spent more than a year seeing many of these gems (& more) in situ, and why I marked the post as a favourite, so I could explore it in greater depth when not at work.

Hiding the majority of the content behind a small "more information" link is possibly not the best interface design, but hey - only Allah can create something perfect, so it is part of the Islamic tradition to introduce minor flaws into a work.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:18 PM on April 26, 2007


UbuRoivas: the tradition of introducing flaws into a work goes back at least to the Egyptians (witness the extra large phalluses coming out of navels and such). It is used to demonstrate metaphorical truths to those prepared to see.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:20 PM on April 26, 2007


And then the christians introduced their own deliberate flaws, by literally de-facing the bas-reliefs of goddies & pharaohs on monuments all over Egypt. To save time, they usually contented themselves with defacing, but the genitals that you mention were often also chipped away, leaving the rest of the bodies intact.

This historical precedent found an ironic echo on September 11, when the middle-eastern hijackers were accused of being faceless cowards without the cojones to attack using conventional methods of warfare.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:28 PM on April 26, 2007


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