Islamic Art, Literature, and Culture (The Islamic World)

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By Kathleen Kuiper
Publisher: Rosen Education Service
Pages: 234, Date: 2009-12-20
ISBN-10 : 1615300198, Rar'd PDF 5 MB's Full

Introduction 7
The Islamic world contains a rich tradition of extraordinary literature and visual arts that stretches back for centuries. At various times, these arts have influenced— and been influenced by—Western literary and artistic traditions. Yet most Westerners know as little about Islamic literature and visual arts as they do about Islam itself.

Popular works such as The Thousand and One Nights and vague notions of tiled mosques or lavish palaces (frequently derived from Western fiction) are often the extent of Westerners’ knowledge of Islamic arts. Viewing Islamic art through the lens of such works is roughly akin to trying to understand the full scope of Western literature and visual arts through popular romance novels and fairy-tale castles.

The approach is neither realistic nor fair. This unenlightened view was shattered with the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when many Americans replaced their naive notions of the exotic Orient with an
outright rejection of a mostly unknown religion and all its worshippers. This attitude may be further exacerbated by the prejudice some feel toward the arts in general, that art has no connection to daily life and that it serves no useful purpose.

Yet if those notions are accurate, why are the arts so intimately interwoven with human history? The truth is that the creation and appreciation of art is an integral part of what it means to be human. Tens of thousands of years ago—long before writing existed—people painted pictures on cave walls and carved small figures. Before there was writing, there was spoken language, which storytellers used to create an oral tradition that was an essential means of transmitting the fundamental principles of human society and institutions.

The best among them could enthrall audiences with long, complex tales. After the invention of writing, many of these stories and poems were recorded, becoming some of the first works of literature....................................

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