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Aesthetics in Islamic artlocked

  • Sheila S. Blair
  •  and Jonathan M. Bloom


Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy concerned primarily with the arts, with concepts of natural beauty and the appreciation of nature. Whereas an important body of literature has been written about Classical and medieval European concepts of beauty, relatively little has been composed about the subject in Islamic art, although historians of literature have dealt extensively with aesthetic concepts in their studies of classical Arabic. Arabic was undoubtedly the lingua franca of medieval Islamic literary culture, but different and distinct literatures emerged in regions where Persian and Turkish prevailed, particularly in the period after c. 1250. It seems therefore somewhat naive to imagine that a single aesthetic—however deeply based in the shared heritage of the Koran and Islamic thought—could have pertained throughout Islamic literary—or visual—culture from the shores of the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean and from the steppes of Central Asia to the Sahel of Africa.

Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden, 1954–)...

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