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Importance of ornament and decoration in Islamic architecture

29th Mar 2018
Importance of ornament and decoration in Islamic architecture

Ornament and Decoration in Islamic Architecture. By Dominique Clevenot & Gerard Degeorge. Pp224. 2017. HB. Thames & Hudson. £29.95

Architecture is the testimony of Islamic civilisation spanning from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

Although it has experimented with various stylistic orientations in different regions, Islamic Architecture has always preserved its distinguishing characteristics, the most important of which is the fundamental role given to surface decoration. As human representation is forbidden in Islamic religious monuments, designers employed mosaics, stucco, brickwork and ceramics, and the vigorous use of brilliant colour to reach unparalleled heights of expression. It is this ornamental dimension of Islamic architecture that is explored in this magnificent volume.

Four successive approaches to Islamic architectural ornament are presented in this richly illustrated book: the historical viewpoint; materials and techniques; ornamental designs; and the aesthetics of ornamentation. Included are great monuments such as the Taj Mahal and the Alhambra.

Rather than limiting itself to an exclusively historical or chronological perspective, Ornament and Decoration in Islamic Architecture presents four successive approaches to its subject. The first part offers an overview of Islamic architecture, discussing the great diversity it contains. Dealing exclusively with techniques, the second part considers the materials most often used as well as the expertise of the builders and Muslim decorative artists, and the third part explores themes in Islamic ornamentation. Section four discusses aesthetics and studies the relationship between the buildings – the structures or their architectonic components – and their ornamental coverings.

We highly recommend this beautiful book on the Islamic Architecture.

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