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Islamic Design - Chapter 9


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Within the mosque, certain areas are essential, these are:
1. Mihrab (prayer niche) indicating the direction of Mecca, which the fiathful faced during their prayers
2. Minbar or pulpit adjacent to the praryer niche;
3. A water basin where the faithful performed a ritual washing before prayers.
Prominent among Islamic ornament. It's a composition based on plant life. This pattern consists of a stem rising from root, from which branch conventionalized flowers, fruits, leaves, and abstract shapes that overlap and interlace. The conception of the arabesque originated in the Assyrian tree-of-life pattern from ancient Near East.
What general principles apply to all Islamic design?
All patterns are relatively small in scale, and much conventionalizing is used. Even when the representations of living this is allowed, the emphasis is always placed on the decorative quality rather than the representational.
Islamic architecture's earliest major monument remains its most revered and one of its most impressive, but not one of its most typical.
The Dome of the Rock was built in the year 692, within an enclosure called the Noble Sanctuary. It's basic form, an octagon with a central dome, with four of its eight sides having projected columned porches with vaulted roofs, facing the cardinal points of the compass.
The most remarkable aspect of the Dome of the Rock is
its interior array of mosaics. The mosaics colors are cool greens and blues, with mother-of-pearl and the glitter of gold from glass tessarae in which bits of gold foil have been embedded.
The special building type developed by the Islamic religion. It is a place for communal prayer, not the "house of God", not an auditorium where rituals are watched by a congregation. Byzantine churches were often converted to mosques as the Islamic faith came to dominate previously Christian territory in the Middle East.
Suleymaniye Mosque
built by the great architect Sinan for his chief patron, Sultan Suleyman, often called "Suleyman the Magnificent". The mosque is the dominant element in a great complex of buildings including religions schools (madrasas), a medical school, student quarters, a bazaar, a hospital, kitchen, bath complex, and the mausolems of Suleyman and his consort Roxelana.
saray or sarai
The Arabic word for place is saray or sarai, a caravenserai being a lodging place for travelers in a caravan. Example: The Topkapi Palace is also called Topkapi Saray. Sometimes called "The Saray". It was built over several centuries and some additions in the sixteenth century were designed by the great Sinan. It is now a mueseum.
A pattern having many-lobed forms; an arch having more than five foils or arcuate divisions. Sometimes called a scalloped arch.
Instead of the ways of the cross, Islam uses _________ to create design.
Although the exteriors of Suleymaniye and the other great Islamic mosques were designed to make an impressive display, other examples of Islamic architecture - like most elements of the Topkapi complex are _________ in exterior massing but _______ in the
unassuming exterior but bursing with vitality and creative entergy in the decoration of interior spaces. Even in the great mosques, the brilliant colors of interior tile and mosaic work can hardly be guessed at from outside the building.
With the exception of Suleymaniye that Islamic interiors do not display what?
The structures that supports them. Elaborate stucco or plasterwork or even carved woodwork may appear to be structural, but that appearance is often false, however delightful the effect may be. Typical of such effects are the muqarnas found overhead in many important Islamic interiors.
In Islamic architecture and ornament, collections of small corbels that form a transition from one plane to another. Also called honeycomb work and stalactite work.
An example of muqarnas is in the
Music Room of the Ali Qapu Palace, one of the structures edging the Royal Maidan, the great open space of Isfahan. The stucco work is pierced in shapes that resemble Chinese porcelain's and musical instruments. Muqarnas are also prominent in a pleasure pavilion called the Hesht Behest (Eight Paradises), also in Isfahan.
Different features of Islamic Decorative Art:
1. Muqarnas
2. Woodwork
3. Stucco
4. Painting and Lacquer
5. Mosaics and Tile
6. Furniture
7. Ceramics; earthenware (painted w/calligraphy); Sultanabad wares; Lusterware; Minai ware and lajvardina ware; Iznik ware
8. Metalwork (cire perdue, damascening - watermark pattern, niello).
9. Glass and Rock Crystal
10. Carpets
Before machine weaving, there were four basic types of carpet, distinguished by the ways in which they were made:
1. embroidered and needleworked
2. flat-woven
3. tapestry-woven
4. pile
The Oriental carpets of the Islamic world are _______ carpets
cut-pile - their surfaces are textured wsith the cut ends of pieces of yarn projecting upward form the surface.

Materials used for these carpets are most often wool and silk for the visible pile and wool or cotton for the underlying foundation. Some are all wool, and all-silk carpets also exist. Goat or camel hair is sometimes added to wool for the pile, and jute is sometimes substituted for cotton for the foundation.
As in Gothic tapestries and as in most weaving, the basic structure of the pile carpet is of _____________
warp and weft, two series of threads that are at right angles to one another. The weft threads, running across the face of the loom, are woven in and out of the warp threads, running the length of the loom. In the pile carpet there are additional elements, short pieces of cut yarn that are knotted around one or more warp threads and held in place by one or more weft threads.
In Islamic carpets, there are only two basic know types, but each of them as four names:
1. Turkish knot, the Ghiordes knot, the closed know, or the symmetrical knot. Short lengths of yarn wrapped around two adjacent warp threads, then pulls them under and out.
2. Persian knot, the senna knot, the open knot or the asymmetrical knot. Wraps the yarn under one warp thread, over adjacent warp thread then pulls it back between the two warp threads and out. Denser and more even pile than the symmetrical knot.
Indications of carpet quality
1. technique of knot
2. knots per square inch
3. line count measures the number of pairs of warp threads per linear foot.
4. Raw materials - silk, wool, and cotton vary greatly in quality
A specialized type of small rug is the ___________
prayer rug . It is an imp. feature of Islamic life, used in mosques to provide a clean, soft area on which to kneel. It is unlike its larger counterparts not only in being small, sized to accommodate a single person, but also in being asymmetrical in design, one end of it woven with a design, usually in the shape of a mihrab, that indicates the direction of Mecca. More often made of silk than of wool, sometimes using a double prayer rug with a mihrab motif at each end.
a word meaning back. A small Islamic rug. They were traditionally used to cover cushions placed against a wall for those seated on carpets to lean against; they are only about 2 by 3 feet.
carpet woven in the same manner as carpets are pillow covers. Balisht means "cushion" or "bolster". Many varieties of Islamic storage bags are made with at least one pile face; they can also be used as pillow covers or as upholstery for chair seats.
A few of the very many Islamic carpet motifs:
1. boteh is the motif familiar from the Paisley pattern. it probably originated in Kashmire, but it is named for the town of Paisley, Scotland, where, in the 19th century the pattern was duplicated in the manuf. of shawls. It is sometimes called a "pear" because of tis shape. Also said to resemble a leaf, pinecone, almond, or flame.
2. gul or gol is a gemoetric emplem. Its name is the Persian word for flower or rosse, so it may have been floral in origin, but it has evolved into octagonal, hexagonal, diamond, or serrated shapes. many nomadic tribes have their own "signature" guls that are traditionally woven into carpet designs.
3. The hands-of-Fatima motif is named for the daughter of Muhammad.
4. herati is a floral representation within curving or diamond-shaped figures.
5. The mihrab shape, rectangular with an argeched top, represents, the prayer niche in a mosque.
6. The palmette is a floral motif based on the lotus.
7. The tree-of-life motif symbolized the life force in the form of a tree, sometimes with fruits and birds in the nches. It is seen in many cultures and in many variations. Similar is the vase of immortality, showing similar foliage sprouting from a vase rather than from the ground.
There are three basic types of Oriental carpet:
1. Persian
2. Turkish
3. Chinese
Other islamic textiles besides carpets included:
1. alpaca, blouse, chiffon, cotton, damask, mohair, muslin, and satin
2. silks were the luxury products of the Islamic textile trade. The silk and silk velvets woven at Bursa and elsewhere served as covers for the sofas and low divans of Turkish palaces and fine houses and for window coverings. They were also made into elaborate costumes.
3. The Islamic flair for pattern, seen in wood carvings, stucco, metalwork, pottery, tiles, calligraphy, and carpets, was also prominent in the design of textiles.
Islamic design is most strongly characterized by a prevailing sense of
Islamic shares the most geography and history with the design of
the ancient Near East. Of all the styles to come, it overlaps most greatly with the Mughal phase of Indian design. Its exoticism and penchant for detail certainly show the influence of Byzantium.

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