Many people still believe that there is no representational art in Islam. In fact, there is a rich tradition of representational art, although it is usually seen in secular, rather than religious, contexts. Representational art is especially prominent in Islamic book paintings, called miniatures.
Robert Hillenbrand, Professor of Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh, provides a thorough discussion of the artistic production of the first Islamic dynasty, the Umayyads, within both a historical and a geographical context.
This essay by Louis Werner begins with a very brief discussion of the development of “World Music” as a genre, then moves on the survey the success of music from the Arab World within in.
The article focuses on the origins of Raï in Western Algeria, and on women as performers. The first part of the articles focuses on the social position of women as singers in a relatively conservative social environment; the second part analyzes the lyrics in some detail, documenting the focus on taboo and transgressive topics.
This chapter by Roger Allen surveys the development of Egyptian drama from a literary perspective, i.e. the texts as published from their origins in Egypt and Egyptian theater in the world, but the essay touches on all of the countries of the Arab world in so far as the confines of such a short survey allow. For more on theater as performance and its role in Arab society, consult the article by Debbie Folaron.
In this essay Udo Kultermann discusses architecture projects in modern-day Iraq.
In this chapter, Robert Irwin investigates the world into which Islam emerged, with particular attention to the Byzantine and Sassanian empires. Through an examination of the existing cultures, the adoption and adaptation of various artistic motifs and literary forms can be understood.
Sound is an intrinsic part of all our lives, an important component of what we consider "home." The soundtracks of our lives, if you will, are made up of the sounds that normally surround us in our home environment and those that we chose to add to it, like music.
MEOC's Middle East Book Awards recognize outstanding picture books, youth literature and nonfiction on the Middle East suitable for use in the K-12 classroom.
Karin Van Nieuwkerk describes four clusters of related female entertainers from Egypt. In the first section, she introduces Umm Muhammad, the oldest female performer of Muhammad 'Ali Street, and Ibtisam, who belongs to the present generation. These life histories illustrate the developments in the profession during the last fifty years.
While some types of Islamic art, such as Qur'an manuscripts, mosque lamps or carved wooden minbars (pulpits), are directly concerned with the faith and practice of Islam, the majority of objects considered to be Islamic art are called so simply because they were made in societies where Islam was the dominant religion.