Book Review

So, it's Tuesday, and I'm finally posting the first of the month review! This month's book, Islamic Art in Context by Robert Irwin, covers the variety of topics involved in a cultural art overview.

The book begins with a general background of Islam (for those who do not know the history or culture connected to the religion). From there, the author proceeds into general topics: architecture, how artists were viewed, literary topics and guilds.

What I have found interesting so far, is the response to the thought that Muslims are forbidden to create human images in their artwork. This belief has been passed around for some time, no doubt reinforced with the Taliban's destruction of the Buddha statues in 2001.

The photograph above is from the copy of the book that I borrowed from my library. It provides a better image of the cover.  In this image, there are clearly human figures represented. The back attributes the lower image as the "parade of the Ottoman guild of potters, from the Surnama (Book of the Circumcision Festival) of Murad III, c. 1582, illuminated manuscript (detail). Topkapi Saray Library, Istanbul (bottom)."
I find it a pleasant read, easy to understand with plenty illustrations of styles and designs. As someone who knows very little about Islamic art, this book provides an excellent overview. Personally, I give it a high rating only because they include the literary artwork in the book. So many books ignore the literature of a culture when discussing the art that I find it refreshing to have a unit devoted to literature in this book.


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