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Old 08-22-2007, 08:43 PM
Status: "Elect a clown? Expect a circus!" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
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I've been led to believe that Islam prohibits the depiction of living creatures in artwork yet in the Alhambra, the great Moorish palace in Granada,Spain ,there is a fountain comstructed with a number of statues of lions.

Does anyone know why this may have been allowed?
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burdell View Post
I've been led to believe that Islam prohibits the depiction of living creatures in artwork yet in the Alhambra, the great Moorish palace in Granada,Spain ,there is a fountain comstructed with a number of statues of lions.

Does anyone know why this may have been allowed?
My understanding is that Islam discourages such art, but does not actually prohibit it.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:23 PM
Status: "Elect a clown? Expect a circus!" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellinghamite View Post
My understanding is that Islam discourages such art, but does not actually prohibit it.
Interesting, I thought it was prohibited by Islamic law and the reason why the architecture and art is dominated by geometric patterns.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by burdell View Post
Interesting, I thought it was prohibited by Islamic law and the reason why the architecture and art is dominated by geometric patterns.
It may be subject to some interpretation. Really, we should be asking a Muslim about this. However, I don't know of any who post in this forum.
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Old 08-23-2007, 05:05 AM
 
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Okay, don't quote or hold me to this, however...

I seem to recall that as the influence from the Renasissance sifted it's way into the Middle East that Islamic art underwent variations in style. I think that prior to that point, artists were forbidden to paint anything such as animals or humans as it was deemed disrespectful to Allah for them to reproduce anything that depicted a life form. I think their artwork up until that point was nothing more than reproduction (copying) what other's had painted/created. (Hence, it wasn't really "art.")

So I guess my question would be what is the date of the art work you are asking about?
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Old 08-23-2007, 05:07 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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Islam states that graven images are dangerous as they may lead to false idol worshipping which is why most of Islamic art does not have visual representations of people or animals. However this was not strictly observed in a lot of secular places though I don't believe Mosques have any such representations. Of course Islam has also undergone many social and religious changes and there are many variations on the theme.

The Lion was a symbol of Royal power which is why I gather it is found in the Alhambra.


Below is an article explaining a bit more on the subject :


History of Images and Figurative Art in Islam
In the earliest days of Islam, a specifically "Islamic art" had not yet begun to develop and art in general was not a prominent issue. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"Earliest Islam as seen in the Qur'an or in the more verifiable accounts of the Prophet's life simply do not deal with the arts, either on the practical level of requiring or suggesting forms as expressions of the culture or on the ideological level of defining a Muslim attitude toward images.... There is no prohibition against representations of living things, and not a single Qur'anic passage refers clearly to the mosque, eventually to become the most characteristically Muslim religious building." {1}
But as the Islamic community grew and conquered a great deal of new territory, it came into contact with the religious art and architecture of other cultures and began to develop its own. By the mid-8th century there was a clear Muslim doctrine against the creation of images, as seen in the hadith above.

It is interesting that Islam came into contact with Byzantine culture at the height of the iconoclastic controversy. It is possible that those intensely negative associations of religious art influenced or strengthened Islamic views on the matter. Regardless,

"it is likely that, more or less intuitively, the Muslims felt a certain reluctance toward representations from the very beginning. For all monuments of religious art are devoid of any representations; even a number of attempts at representational symbolism in the official art of coinage were soon abandoned." {1}
In the 8th and 9th centuries, Islamic art experimented with a wide variety of materials, techniques and designs, many of which were influenced by China and other parts of the world. But the decorative arts remained generally consistent in excluding depictions of humans and animals. Some minor exceptions are birds drawn from the folkloric past of the Near East and "occasionally human figures drawn in a strikingly abstract fashion." {1}


Fatimid bowl from the 12th century, depicting a Byzantine Christian priest swinging a censer. (Victoria & Albert Museum, London) The art of the Fatimids (a Shi'ite dynasty that ruled 909–1171 AD) continued to focus mainly on calligraphy and decorative vines, but also frequently depicted animals and humans. The celebrated lustre-painted Fatimid ceramics from Egypt are especially distinguished by "the representation of the human figure. Some of these ceramics have been decorated with simplified copies of illustrations of the princely themes, but others have depictions of scenes of Egyptian daily life." {1} The Fatimids also developed an art of manuscript illustration.

The Seljuk Turks sought to restore Islamic orthodoxy. They made many contributions to Islamic art and architecture, including monumental minarets, mausoleums of holy men (to which pilgrimages were made), citadels and madrasas. Paintings and sculptures of animals and people were among the decorations employed for the monumental new architecture, but the Seljuks were especially interested in geometry and mathematical proportion in art. {1}

The Mamluks ruled Egypt, Palestine, and Syria from 1260 to 1517 and were very wealthy. The Mamluks are especially known for their splendid architecture, which included the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Mamluk art seems to have been virtually devoid of human and animal depiction.

Meanwhile, in the Mongol period in Iran, Persian art became especially notable for its figurative art in wall painting and illuminated manuscripts. These include many narrative scenes of the Prophet, Iranian kings and other humans. Examples include the 56 minature paintings of the 14th-century Shah-nameh ("Book of Kings"); illustrations of the Jami' at-tawarikh (“Universal History of Rashid ad-Din”); and the Khwaju Kermani manuscript from 1396. The Iranian style of painting was influenced by Seljuk art, but more so by Chinese painting. The most celebrated Islamic painter was Behzad (1455-1536), who led an academy of art in Iran.

The Ottoman Turks (15th-19th centuries) are best known for their tiles and pottery, but also developed their own form of miniature figurative painting.

Ottoman miniatures do have a character of their own, either in the almost folk art effect of religious images or in the precise depictions of such daily events as military expeditions or great festivals. Among the finest examples of the latter is the manuscript Surname-i Vehbi (Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul) painted by Levnî in the early 18th century. {1}

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To view examples of Islamic art depicting Muhammad, please see our separate page, Examples of Islamic Depictions of Muhammad. All the depictions are respectful and Islamic, but Muslims who are offended by seeing such images or feel they are breaking religious laws by doing so, should not follow the link.


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From this brief history, it is clear that figurative art (depictions of humans and animals) has made regular appearances in the Islamic world. However, figurative art has largely been a private and secular matter, with most mosques kept free of such imagery. As explained on the website of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

Contrary to a popular misconception, however, figural imagery is an important aspect of Islamic art. Such images occur primarily in secular and especially courtly arts and appear in a wide variety of media and in most periods and places in which Islam flourished. It is important to note, nevertheless, that representational imagery is almost invariably restricted to a private context. Figurative art is excluded from the decoration of religious monuments. This absence may be attributed to an Islamic antipathy toward anything that might be mistaken for idols or idolatry, which are explicitly forbidden by the Qur’an. {2}
Today, the depiction of prophets and especially Muhammad is widely rejected. The 1976 film The Message, directed by Moustapha Akkad and starring Anthony Quinn, tells the story of Muhammad, but follows Islamic law by not showing Muhammad or even portraying his voice (it is filmed from his perspective).

But aside from the taboo about Muhammad, and despite the clear rules in hadith, only the most conservative Muslims (such as the Taliban) believe it is wrong to create images in general, such as portraits or photographs. The introduction of television into Saudi Arabia was widely protested at first because of its images, but is now a common part of Saudi life.
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Old 08-23-2007, 05:19 AM
 
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Mooseketeer:

I knew if anyone could answer this one, you would!!!

(It's just too darn early in the morning here in the U.S. and besides, it was too long ago that I read "My Name Is Red!")
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Old 08-23-2007, 06:33 AM
Status: "Elect a clown? Expect a circus!" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
58,169 posts, read 40,966,092 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooseketeer View Post
Islam states that graven images are dangerous as they may lead to false idol worshipping which is why most of Islamic art does not have visual representations of people or animals. However this was not strictly observed in a lot of secular places though I don't believe Mosques have any such representations. Of course Islam has also undergone many social and religious changes and there are many variations on the theme.

The Lion was a symbol of Royal power which is why I gather it is found in the Alhambra.
<snipped to save space>
Thanks for that and the accompanying, explains it very well.
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:05 AM
 
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Islam doesnot allow representaion of a living creature in any form. Even though we muslims have gone through alot of changes in culture and stuff,but these changes are regional and not in religion.what ever is written in Quraan and what our Prophet (PBUH) taught is still followed by many muslims all aorund the world. I know there are many muslims who draw human figures and sculpture in many muslim countries, but what those muslims are doing cannot be applied to all the basic ideology of muslims. It is just like you Christians are not following your religion completely, many muslims are not following there religion completely.They are breaking the boundaries in many fields. About the lion figures, i would say that it was an influence of greeks and romans on the muslims artists. but there is NO Way that those lions sculptures permit the representation of animals figures in Islam. and those who think that only Taliban disallow such type of art are wrong. All those muslims who are trully aware of what is written in Quraan and Hadith think in the same way. And please by watching the Muslims Tv and commercials dont think that some muslims portraying such things like women not covering there heads, make these things permitted in Islam.
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