How the Use of Decoration in Islamic Architecture in the 7th and 8th Centuries СЕ Reflect the Religious Teachings of Islam Essay Example

Introduction

century, the conquest of Persia by Muslims resulted in vast architectural wealth that had been developed over the centuries, such as the Roman Empire’s arches and aqueducts, great roads, pointed arches as well as the Byzantine horseshoe and basilicas. At first, the Islamic architects utilised these native architects in order to construct mosques, and in due course, they came up with their own adaptations. Therefore, Islamic architecture is associated directly with Byzantine and Persian architecture. th centuries. In the 7th and 8thIslamic architecture involved different religious and secular styles that were based on Islam. More importantly, the Islamic architecture devised from the same structures which were already present in Persian, Byzantine as well as Roman lands which were conquered by the Muslims between 7

Dome of the RockThe

century and it is considered as the oldest existing Islamic monument. The ornamentation and structure of the dome are based on the architectural tradition of Byzantine.th In the Dome of the Rock, there are Islamic symbols that have been embodied genuinely to make it an ‘Islamic architecture’; therefore, the presence of these symbols made the monument to be identified as an Islamic architect. The Dome of the Rock is characterised by its extraordinary elegance, magnificence, solidity, as well as the singularity of shape. The workmanship of the decorations on the outside and inside defies description. It was constructed in the late 71The Islamic work achieves the Islamic character after representing qualities; therefore, non-presence of these qualities would make it impossible to portray the work as Islamic.

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2Figure 1: Dome of the Rock

The dome’s internal decoration features decorative flower-patterned embellishments in gold and red and has different inscriptions. The dome’s arch symbolises heaven and depicts the connection between God and the existing world.

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Figure 2: The Dome’s Arch3

The dome embodies the heavenly throne or the absolute spirit; therefore, it is a sacred monument. The dome’s octahedron connotes the eight angels’ dwelling that supports the heavenly arch and consequently is in line with the earth’s eight corners. The early Islamic artists searched for a vocabulary which conformed to the needs of the Islamic society.4 Therefore, they used a language that reflected Greco-Roman and Sasanian conventions. At the centre of the dome, there is a sacred stone, which Muslims believe is the point where Prophet Muhammad journeyed to heaven. Since the rock has an imprint of a horse, the Muslims believe that the angel would surface at the rock to sound the trumpet that would signify the end of the world. The mosaics’ geometric shapes and intricate patterns substitute the figurative art because; Muslims believe that it is not possible to represent Allah figuratively. Rather, the dome uses shape and colour to convey its own message. In this case, Blue suggests infinity because it signifies the colour of the sky while gold suggests God’s knowledge. The dome’s circle represents the balance and wholeness crucial to the Muslim faith.

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5Figure 3: Dome’s Interior Mosaics and Inscriptions

6The dome is adorned by Quranic inscriptions that promote the Islamic faith virtues. Given that Islam is austerely monotheistic, the decorations in the Islam architects should not represent religious imagery; therefore, artists had to use geometrical forms, especially continuous star patterns.

The Great Mosque of Damascus

century are still available on the transept’s north outer face, beneath the gable. Shrine of John the Baptist and a small chapel have been shrined in the mosque, where Muslims believe the head of John the Baptist was buried. They believe that this head has some magical powers; for that reason, Mandaeans’ pilgrimage is held annually at the mosque. During the pilgrimage, the Muslims press their foreheads against the shrine’s metal grill with the aim of experiencing prophetic visions. In the mosque, there is a shrine chamber that is finely tiled, whereby Muslims believe that it houses the head of Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father. There are three aisles in the prayer hall while a pitched roof has been aligned perpendicularly to the prayer direction.thusually referred as Umayyad Mosque was built by the Umayyad Caliph al-Walīd I and is considered to be one of the most extraordinary architects in the Islamic world. The mosque has a spacious prayer hall as well as a grand courtyard. A number of the original mosaics that were included in 8, The Great Mosque of Damascus

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7Figure 4: The Great Mosque’s Mosaics

The mosaics appear on the prayer hall, the perimeter walls’ inner side, as well as the facades of the court. The golden background is decorated by richly foliate trees, fantastic houses, as well as flowing rivers. These green mosaics are associated with the passages from the Qur’an, which have been quoted in the walls’ inscriptions. The mosaics depict an idyllic landscape with the aim of offering visual form to al-Walid’s proclamation. As evidenced in figure four, the mosque’s mosaics show a heavenly landscape with fruit trees, elaborately designed pavilions and palaces as well as rivers with boats. The landscape’s visionary aspect is improved by the trees’ gigantic size as well as their flourishing foliage.

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Figure 5: The Mosque’s Courtyard8

Conclusion

Islamic architecture utilised decorations as evidenced by the Dome of the Rock, an exemplary architectural and historical landmark of the Islamic culture. This monument possesses unifying and unique significance for the Muslims over wider geographic as well as temporal scopes. Besides that, the monument exemplifies the influential magnitude of intercultural dialogues and contacts which have progressively shaped the Islamic communities. Another example of the use of decorations in Islam architecture is the Great Mosque of Damascus constructed in 717 CE by Umayyad Caliph Suleyman. The mosque is one of the architectural masterpieces of the Islamic world as evidenced by its key qualities, integrated with the religious merits stressed by the manifestation of Prophet Zakariyah’s remains as well as historical importance demonstrated by how it connects with the great Muslim commander, Emir Nur Al-Din Zangi.

Bibliography

Al-Jasmi, Abdullah, and Michael H. Mitias. “Does an Islamic Architecture Exist?” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 60, no. 1 (2004): 197-214.

Baer, Eva. “The Human Figure in Early Islamic Art: Some Preliminary Remarks.” Muqarnas 16 (1999): 32-41.

Botchkareva, Ana. «The Dome of the Rock,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, last modified June 22, 2012, http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/byzantium-and-islam/blog/where-in-the-world/posts/dome-of-the-rock.

Ettinghausen, Richard. “Islamic Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 33, no. 1 (1975): 2-52.

Goussous, Jawdat, and Wael Al-Azhari. “Domes Formation in Middle East Islamic Countries.” DOMES IN THE WORLD” International Congress. Florence, Italy, 2011. 1-14.

Labatt, Annie. «Great Mosque of Damascus,» The Metropolitan Museum of Art, last modified May 9, 2012, http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/byzantium-and-islam/blog/where-in-the-world/posts/damascus.

Piperno, Roberto, and Rosamie Moore. «The Umayyad Mosque,» Rome Art Lover
, last modified March, 2011, https://www.romeartlover.it/Damasco2.html.

1
Abdullah Al-Jasmi and Michael H. Mitias. “Does an Islamic Architecture Exist?” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 60, no. 1 (2004): 202.

2
Labatt, Annie. «Great Mosque of Damascus,» The Metropolitan Museum of Art, last modified May 9, 2012, http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/byzantium-and-islam/blog/where-in-the-world/posts/damascus.

3
Jawdat Goussous and Wael Al-Azhari. “Domes Formation in Middle East Islamic Countries.” DOMES IN THE WORLD” International Congress. Florence, Italy, 2011. 1-14.

4
Eva Baer. “The Human Figure in Early Islamic Art: Some Preliminary Remarks.” Muqarnas 16 (1999): 32.

5
Ana Botchkareva. «The Dome of the Rock,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, last modified June 22, 2012, http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/byzantium-and-islam/blog/where-in-the-world/posts/dome-of-the-rock.

6
Ettinghausen, Richard. “Islamic Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 33, no. 1 (1975): 6.

7
Labatt, Annie. «Great Mosque of Damascus,» The Metropolitan Museum of Art, last modified May 9, 2012, http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/byzantium-and-islam/blog/where-in-the-world/posts/damascus.

8
Roberto Piperno and Rosamie Moore. «The Umayyad Mosque,» Rome Art Lover
, last modified March, 2011, https://www.romeartlover.it/Damasco2.html.