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The term Muslim Art does not represent a specific type of art, it is also not a religious art; it is a general term used to celebrates the different types of artwork produced within various fields of art by Muslims from the 7th Century onwards.
Muslim art also celebrates the uniqueness of the cultures within the Muslim world, although unique in their own style, art produced by the different Muslim countries all present a common thread. This unifies the different types of artwork around the Islamic world and places it under the banner of ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islamic Art’
Muslim arts commonly adopt the use of repetition in their designs. Floral or geometric designs are a prominent feature of Muslim cultural arts; these designs or patterns are known as ‘arabesque’
The repetition of the design are thought to represent the ‘eternal’ nature of God, and for some it is believed to represent the logic and order in God’s universe. We find that certain patterns are used, the majority of these patterns all start in the form of a circle, this represents eternity, and from the circle we develop the most fundamental shapes in Islamic art. The most common shape being the star, which symbolises the spread of Islam.
Although the beauty of God’s creation is celebrated, this is done without the depiction of animals or humans, as this is forbidden in Islam. It is therefore common for Muslim art to be abstract or symbolic through the use of arabesque patterns
Another feature which is almost inseparable from Muslim art is the use of calligraphy; this is usually expressed by the use of Quranic verses or Hadith by the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w). Calligraphy is usually used in a decorative way, and sometimes it is incorporated into the design itself.
Whether its ceramics or architecture, I find that Muslim cultures have an amazing way of expressing within a piece of artwork the importance of the presence of God in a believer’s life. The work therefore becomes inspirational to all who view it.