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Art & Architecture of the Middle East and North Africa

By Michelle Peck Williams

REVIEW of the Middle East

Canaan/Israel/Palestine The Hebrews/Israelites/Jews
Judaism Monotheism Abraham (2000 BC?) Jerusalem Torah (Old Testament to Christians) Graven Image concept

Jesus (4BC?) Builds on Judaism but adds Jesus teachings, belief in Jesus as Messiah

Expel Jews, destroy temple in 70 AD Persecute Christians but convert in 300s

History of Islam
7th Century AD
Religion of Islam started by Muhammad, in what is now Saudi Arabia. Muslims are followers, Islam is the religion.

8th Century AD & on

Islamic empire spreads throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, etc.

Ottoman Turks (Muslims) take over Constantinople & the Byzantine Empire, renaming it Istanbul.

Christians Ferdinand and Isabella defeat and kick out all the Muslims in Spain.

Strict rules about graven images meant you could NOT make a picture of statue of God, a holy person, etc. Muhammads face is usually not shown. Books can show historical images but they are not for praying to. Some rules relaxed later in some places, like Iran (Persians). So, instead, Islamic art focused on REPETITION, using:
Geometric patterns Arabesques Calligraphy

Geometric patterns

Arabesques (curved designs)

Calligraphy: Fancy Writing

Islamic Architecture
Mosque: place of worship

Many mosques feature columns, domes and arches.

Islamic architecture often uses an atrium plan.

Minarets are the towers where the muezzin calls people to prayer.

Inside, mosques are carpeted and you must remove your shoes.

Famous Mosques
The Kaaba, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Famous Mosques

Famous Mosques
The Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem, Israel

More Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock Interior

Famous Mosques
The Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain

Other Famous Architecture:

The Taj Mahal in India Its a tomb, but it looks like a Mosque. Built by Shah Jahan, a Muslim ruler of India in the 1600s.

Other Famous Architecture

The Alhambra in Spain Its a palace (house).

More Alhambra

More Alhambra

More Alhambra

More Alhambra

Because they were a desert culture, the early Muslims valued water highly, and often incorporated it into architectural design.

Water is used for washing before prayers, 5 times a day.

Arabic Science & Math

To create such beautiful art works, Arabic geometry and math became very advanced. They invented algebra. Arabic numerals are still used today (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). They were the first to create hospitals with quarantine, the compass, lenses, and the first to create distilled alcohol as an anesthetic. Arab libraries contained math & science books from all over the world, and helped start the Renaissance in Europe.

Create an Islamic-style Geometric Kaleidoscope design. It must have RADIAL BALANCE. You must color the whole thing with RADIAL BALANCE with 3 or more colors to get full credit.

Islamic Exit Slips

A. Explain ONE way the BELIEFS of Islam influence the ART. B. Explain ONE way you used Islamic style to create your design.