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Islamic Art

tile14989 ARH 450 GR PER: ISLAMIC ART
MW 10:00 - 11:50 Overton K.

This course introduces the arts and visual cultures of the Islamic world.  Defining “Islamic art” in broad terms, it considers the creation of material culture from southern Spain to Southeast Asia from the seventh century to the present.  Students will be exposed to a wide variety of artistic forms and practices, including urban planning, architecture, the arts of the book, portable decorative arts (metalwork, glass, ivory), and carpets and textiles.

The course examines major icons of the field in all media and form – the city of Isfahan, the Dome of the Rock, the ivory Pyxis of al-Mughira, the jade cup of Ulugh Beg, the Alhambra, the Tahmasp Shahnama manuscript, the Taj Mahal, the Ardabil carpets – while concurrently exploring those that expand and nuance the traditional canon. Primary themes to be considered include the relationship between art and literature, the creation of sacred space, the role of the patron and artist, figural imagery, the preeminence of writing, the transmission of techniques and aesthetics across space, and the modification and reuse of objects.

Students will be exposed to current theoretical debates in Islamic art history – for example, how the field itself is defined – while also cultivating skills in standard art historical methodologies, including formal analysis, social history, and reception theory. Particular emphasis will be placed on exploring works of Islamic art in light of their original social, economic and political contexts and in relation to neighbors east and west, including China and Europe.  The firsthand examination of works of art and architecture in the Portland area is required.

Registration is now open.