Secular vs. Religious Art During Abbasid Empire

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Secular vs. Religious Art During Abbasid Empire The Islamic world extends from the Middle East through much of Africa, and east to Indonesia, and Western China. Under the Abbasid caliphate (750–1258), which succeeded the Umayyads (650–750) in 750, the focal point of Islamic political and cultural life shifted eastward from Syria to Iraq, where, in 762, Baghdad, the circular City of Peace was founded as the new capital. In this presentation I will cover a variety of ornate pieces from different regions under Abbasid rule that portray many ethnic flavors to Islamic secular and religious art. Islamic visual arts are ornamental, vibrant, and, in religious art, nonrepresentational and often associated with the arabesque style. Early Islam forbade the painting of human beings, including the Prophet, as Muslims believe this tempts followers of the Prophet to idolatry. A prohibition against depicting representational images in religious art, as well as the naturally decorative nature of Arabic script, led to the use of calligraphic decorations, which usually involved repeating geometrical patterns that expressed ideals of order and nature. These methods were used on both religious and secular art and architectures such as scripts, carpets, ceramics, decorations, jewelry and more textiles. As we studied in class, early Islamic monuments or attitudes whose functions and forms were directly inspired by the new faith or derived from it. These monuments and attitudes had a culturally restricted significance due to ritual needs, and religious symbols that tended to predominate in their evolution, if not in their creation. Textiles and coinage acquired Koranic quotations and the Mosques became holy sanctuaries. Secular art can be just as restricted, but the main difference is that there is much more common ground in the functions and inspirations of secular arts of different

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