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Islamic art is one of the most fantastic styles for its richness of decoration in all types of art, Muslim artists, tried to avoid drawing living organisms, found full satisfaction and a wide scope in ornaments, specially the floral, the geometrical and the geographical. In fact, they achieved a high standard of success in piling up a crowded repertoire of decorative elements, a mixture of which can sometimes be seen grouped in one decorative scene. That was mainly due to the unceasing efforts of Muslim artists to exhibit their skill in producing new features and patterns One can also say that they might have intended to avoid the monotony of the repetition and the constant use of one or few kinds of decorative motifs It is not difficult to follow the evolution of many of these elements if treated in a scientific systematic way. It is true that elements of architecture, epigraphy, living objects, geometrical and floral decoration have been the sub or researches by archaeologists, but few were treated in that with objects of archaeological value are not usually found complete and intact and bearing evidence of their period or style. Number of these objects is found in fragments, many contain Hence arises the need for very few elements or even one only systematic researches which render a great help, not only for investigating those fragments, but also for following the course of evolution of various decorative features and the different waves of in flue exerted on, or from them. Pieces bearing evidence of their period and place of fabrication are obviously of fundamental importance, for they serve as fixed points in comparative studies has was the principal for trying to prepare this blog article. Another motive was to supply those, whose work or interest lies within the field of Islamic decoration with the principal forms of decorative floral elements of true Islamic descent It was important to collect as many elements as possible from all published and unpublished material from every possible source, and then to analyze them down to the minutest detail. This was not an easy task, in view of the vast numbers of object of different materials and techniques, scattered among various Islamic countries of various tastes and tendencies. The Arabesque is well known in the Islamic decoration formed by stems giving birth to different plant elements, such as leaves, flowers, fruits, etc I am greatly interested in studying the origins and evolution of each family of such plant elements, their components and particles from the very start of Islamic art, when it was dependent on material, traditions and ingredients from styles existing at the time of its birth, such as the Byzantine and Sassanian styles, and sediments from classic arts, viz., the Hellenistic and the Roman The present volume deals with analytical studies of the most simple forms of one kind of ornament the "Calyx" This element although found abundantly in many styles, in Islamic art produce some peculiar innovations connected with the evolution of the general forms and with their internal cells or fillings, the most important of "Calyx" is the "Lotus".

CHAPTER I PRELIMINARY AND EXPLANATORY STUDIES EVOLUTION OF ISLAMIC ART (Especially in the field of floral ornament) Most historical styles follow a common course of evolution, and Islamic art was no exception Many valuable researches on its origins, birth and evolution have been written and what interests us here is to follow briefly that course in connection with floral ornament in particular his can be explained in the following principal stages of evolution First Stage I'' (VID century until the Ist quarter of the III'd (IX) century. This stage starts with the rise of the Umayyad dynasty, when Damascus was the seat of the Califate. All countries forming the Islamic Empire had been under the influence of Hellenistic traditions, either directly from the rule of Alexander the Great and his succes sors, or indirectly from the rule of the Romans whose art was derived from Hellenistic art, also from the Byzantine and Sasanian styles which were influenced by the same traditions All these factors combined helped to build the foundation of Islamic art. Islamic art at this stage, therefore, was a mixture of Hellenistic and local traditions, the latter sometimes transferred by craftsmen from one place to another in the Islamic Empire This mixture is clearly visible in the floral ornament of architec ture and minor arts, e.g., vine motifs such as scrolls and undulations, leaves and fruits, acanthus motifs, pine cones, also some Sasanian composite elements whose petals are arranged in a certain way which resembles the Ancient Egyptian Lotus. Other elements such

 

as palmettes and split-palmettes, are very c:ommon in all historical various kinds of trees, leaves, flowers and fruits were not styles unfrequently used It is important to note that in syria and Egypt, the dominating elements and traditions were Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine while in Persia, the sasanian traditions prevailed. A mixture of all these traditions transferred to Western Islam was where they mingled with local survivals from Roman and B arte, thus reinforcing the Hellenistic stamp in the few monuments and objects dating from this period second stage 2-d quarter of III (AD to middle of WI (wIDh cen The Umayyad style did not come to an end with the change of political conditions and the rise of the 'Abhisid dynasty. It kept ith slow course of evolution until Samarra was founded. Man examples h century, such as the Mibrnb of the Mosque of )אן( from the In al-Mansir at Baghdad e), the Minbar of the Great Mosque of Qairawan (3), a door from Takrit in the Benaki Museum e and others, show the continuation of Hellenistic influences during the early 'Abbisd period, whose seat was Baghdad where sasanian traditions came to power. The clear and rapid in the change came course of building Samarra, where the first style, which was closely connected to the Hellenistic, evolved into the second and the styles, which took a new and different in very short interval aspect a The ornament excavated HiraO prove to be one of the at may earliest that lead to the frst style of simarra steps It was quite natural for Sasanian traditions to rise to power when the seat of the Califate was transfer within or quite near to

 

their sphere of infiuence. These traditions which were based on many ancient local ones in the regions of 'lraq and Persia, were mixed again with the Hellenistic traditions brought by Alexander and developed into the Parthian style they also took a share in roducing sasanian art. samarra must naturally have been affected by those traditions, which can be felt rather in the taste and spirit than in the detail. In fact, the oranament of Samarra, especially the second and third styles, mark the first clear land-mark in the evolution of Islamic art with individual character. The influence an of Turkish soldiers from Central Asia (1) should not be exaggerated Prof. Zaki Hasan did not with this opinion (2) and my analyses agree of the ornaments comes to support his view O We can summarise some of the important phases of this stage as follows (a) The new characteristics of Islamic art became clearly and its ornament within a very short time, uia., arramהS developed in a quarter of a century O, and therefore it should be considered as a sudden change which is a very rare event in the evolution of art Dr. Ktihnel considers such a change to be a revolution O samarra ornament after this sudden change, kept to the usual gradual until the middle of the Iv (X) th century, when some course, of the old ornament and elements, which once belonged to the first stage, reapppeared again among those of Samarra, and thus, one aspect of the true Islamic arabesque came into existance, exhibiting local testes in the Near and Middle East, This can be more clearly explained following the evolution of the floral ornament of Samarra by I published special article in Arabic e as a contribution to the a study of this ornament, a short translation of which is given in the third chapter of this volume

 

style "A" reflect.ed many features of He:llenittie origin in spite )ו( of changes due to time and evolution: the ornament from Hira probably formed one of the priliminary linka. style B" shows marked changes and new ideas of composition, forms and technique Elements were packed in close contact with each other, Bo as to leav as little background as possible, or practically none The contours of each element were made to ft exactly those of the adjoining elements such idea must have been inspired by some factors which will be an discussed later (2). This tendency produced motifs with peculiar con tours and forms which at first glance appear to be quite new, although they are true descendants of Hellenistic origin The ornament of style C" was the final step in the evolution of style B but they look raw and dry in comparison with the elegant and subtle Hellenistic originals Samarra styles, especially B" and "C", spread in Persia and Egypt where their course of evolution can be easily and closely followed by the help of the abundant archaeological documents found there It natural that and consequently evolution, differed in each is tastes, country The case of Syria is not so easy, as no material of this period has come to light to make decisive researches possible China and Central Asia had influence floral decoration and no on its evolution at this stage, spite of the many Chinese pottery in fragments found in Simarra, Persia and Egypt e O hen the Islamic began to disintegrate, some em monarchs tried to become independ of the "Abbisid Calitate, but at the time, by mentioning the name of retained a bond with it same 0ther the Khalifa in the Friday Khutba and official matters in vo

their course of evolution for a time, after which they recovered their vitality. Artists must have been given full liberty to adopt and use what traditions they liked, but a good number of them must have been attracted by the novelty and the new aspects of the samarra styles and were overcome by the strength of the on-coming wave This is clearly shown by the abundance of woodwork produced in Egypt 'י during the Iv (xy and the v KI) th centuries, carved in style "C of Samarra The crusades were responsible for the continuous stimulation and the survival of Hellenistic and Christian traditions in Syria, which supplied Egypt, every now and then, with various waves carrying such traditions Chinese influences can be felt in the seljiq C), and perhaps in the Fatimid style e, by some particular kinds of technique, animal and human features (3), but no effect whatsoever can be traced on the elements or on the evolution of floral decoration (a) Spain and North Africa became practically independant, and therefore too far be affected by the various factors actin away to East Islam. The source and ingredients of art in the West were the same as in the East, i.e. Hellenistic and Byzantine mixed with Sasanian touches, but still the mould was purely Islamic. The course of evolution was rather different, having neither sudden waves nor sharp turns, and thus West Islamic art developed its own individual character favour. though some details from Samarra did an flourish or appear in the West (4), yet they found no chance to to evolve Art Western Islam started to form individual traditions and in its own from the Iv (gih century onwards, i.e. 0pe

century later than in the East where Samarra was responsible for ting this century into a mere quarter the Eloral ornament in North Africa and Spain, although retaining in IvGth century a good deal of the elements and the details from the first stage, yet the forms, composition and scale assumed a new taste and character. Some other elements and motifs took a new course of evolution, such as the acanthus and its components. They played an important role among the decorative elements. The eyes' for instance, evolved in a strange way peculiar to Maghrib and Andalus Most calyx-forms in these regions were of the simple type, composite forms are not very common. The split-calyx elements were very rare (see below). The groups of floral elements continued smoothly their course of evolution with sudden transitions, and the change no were so even and gradual that they could hardly be felt in the course of three centuries, x to XLII A.D., in spite of the which many events occured in the West lt is interesting to notice that the floral decoration of textiles, in the Hispano-Mauresque style, has little relation with that carved on stucco and wood., Textile fioral motifs in the West are more related to the Eastern rather than to the Western floral groups Subsequent waves of influences from Andalusia and Maghrib sometimes reached Egypt some of their peculiar foral carrying motifs O. Each wave began disintegrate as soon as it reached to Egypt, and the traces were sometimes lost before the arrival of the subsequent wave Third Stage: Mid. m NID to beg. of X R7Dth century of At the beginning of the vir (xim)th century, the Mongol storms began to sweep over the Near and the Middle Deast. The

 effects of the invasions were greatly felt in the Islamic art of these regions, and can be summarized as follows (a) A gap of nearly one century is apparent in art production and especially in architecture in Persia O Many art treasures must have been destroyed or lost, and it is quite probable that some of them were deliberately concealed and buried to keep them from falling into the hands of the in vaders, as we hear and then of treasures recovered from excavation now her discover are expected by connoisseurs and lovers of art, to ill the missing links in the chain of evolution of Islamic art O Groups of people fied before the Mongol storm and soug refuge in other Native schools of art were consequently countries. carried by emigrant artists and scattered in several directions, some times keeping their original traditions, sometimes losing them among the local ones of their new homes The result of these scattered of artistic infiuences can easil waves be traced by certain techiques and characteristics planted on new soils, e.g. metalwork in Svria (2), glass mosaics in Egypt (3) etc he flora of the Mamluk period in Egypt was resupplied with sOn.etimes e.g. vine-leaves with eves motifs of Hellenistic origin e Professor Z:aki Hasan pointed to me, in confirmation of this sugges- discovered in the province of Gurgan some of tion, the pottery treasures lustrees de Gurgan, hich were published in Bahr:ami, Faiences emaillees et Musee in Artibus Asite, vol. X part 2 (1947), pp. 100-105, 4 plates 5 Cernuschi, Iran. Pieces du Musee de Teheran tat. illustre, pp. IX Pls. 61-63; viet. Musee Arabe, Exposition d'art Masulman, 1317. rl. to in laid metalwork which was pp. 1S2-1s4. referri spread to Persia, Egypt and Syria d in (3) e.g. Mosaic decoration, which was well known in Syria appeare wr Deypt since the middle of the VIr kInith century (see below, chapter under Glass Mosaics tra Zgypt and Syria referre Dimand. Handbook (1347), 236. The author to Ragla p glasswork, the oldest of which is attributed by Lammm

superimposed with grapest) also acanthus features such as the veyes" and indentations eb which reappeared after a long interval of time O Mongol dynasties were founded in Persia which kept good relations with their kinsmen in the Far Dast, and mutual waves of ntluences were exchanged The Enr Eastern influences in the Middle and the Near East were more active and their effects more pronounced and Persia was the first to receive them in full, Egypt coming next During this stage. Enr Dastern intuences left a marked imprint on the tlorn of the lslamic decoration. Some new naturalistic elements began to make their appearance at the beginning of the viI (xiv) b century playing an important part in the ornament to be seen in paint ing, bookbinding, metalwork, textiles, stucco, stone and marble carving Their part increased in course of time and survived until the last tames of Muslim art can be considered as the leading I he RosH-Lonus (Figs. 1, 2), new decorative motit. he part it played, from this period onwards, is equal to that of the acanthus and the vine in the first stages of the evolution of Islamic art. The RosE-Lorus and its components took a good in the and evolution of other motifs in the share structure Persian and the Mamluk styles. The acanthus, however, was not (t) Examples of this feature exist in marble frieze in the mihribgo a e oleum of as-Sulih Ayytib (unpublished), also in the reversed face ooden frieze from the Mausoleum of Qalain eauty, Bois, Pl, LIX, No. 3196, verso. It also seen on a wooden frieze in the Mausoleum of is (Mosquees, II, Pl. 82) nisהhhaN an-Misir Muhamm:ad at Reflections of these Hellenistic ornaments appear in enamelled glass, as seen in a lamp with the namo of al-Ashraf Khalil (Wet, Lampes, Pl. IV), bearing the name of Nasir Muhammed (bi an חהtsirהM Pl. VI), etc marble in the mibrab ot The earliest examples exist on a IX, 55-56. lt is Nur ad-Din at Damascus, 549 (1154) (Ars Isl. aol. Figs. so found in the cenotaph of Salah ad-Din, 592 (INE), and in the Mausoleum aibars at Damascus, 676 d277) (Watzinger and Wulringer, Damascus, II, Pls, 5-6) In the Mosque of Sultan Hasan (Mosqudes, II, Pl. 130 left), etc

neglected, for the two motifs combined, were clever adopted decoration in Persia, and were extensively employed in the Turkish style to create many interesting new motifs Eig. 2.Ielamic Latug Eig. 1 lotus (Blochet, Maal Paint, PL XLV) (Cer. Egypt., PL. IID Although the RosE-Lorus was frequently used in Egypt decoration on stucco, stone, marble, metalwork, textiles, ceramics and Quran pages, yet a very curious fact is represented by the absolute absence of this element from the art of wood carving O All the above took place in the East, while the west events was too far away to be affected by them nevertheless, it seems that some influences must have reached the West from the East, and more especially from Egypt, for observe an increase in the production we of lustre pottery with a Western local developed character. Geometrical and star patterns came into vogue in decorative schemes in woodwork, marble and ceramic mosaic, some productions of the latter reached Egypt in one of the many waves from the West, as some tiles were found in the Mosque of Shaikh,756 (1355) e) But we can safely say that the floral decoration in Spain an North Africa were practically undisturbed and were unexposed to an strong influence from without. They reached maturity about the end of the vir (xm)th century and endured for the next two centuries. The only signs of possible influence from the East may be noti in the tendency to re-employ some of the older naturalistic elem." (a) Prost, Les revttements ceramiques dans les monumens de l'Egypte, Pl. XII/Z

such as: vine leaves, bunches of grapes, rosettes and other elements() nevertheless, their character and flavour are different from the but Eastern parallels Influences from Islamic West were more clearly felt in Egypt Many Maghribian and Andalusian decorative schemes, mainly Kufic and floral, were executed in a number of monuments in Egypt and even one in Syria O. Such influences were readily digested, and left very little effect on the evolution of Mamluk plant motifs until the Xl/I (XIX)'h cenlury Fourth stage: Beginning of X CXVD At the end of the Ir (w)th century, serious events began to take place in the Middle East, which proved to have a fatal effect on Islamic art In Persia, Isma'il the First established the safavid dynasty in go7 02). His rule began extend and to reach.blya and to Baghdad in the West, and Herat in the East. The whole of ura San was subjugated in 916 (1510). Wars ensued between him and the rising Turkish monarchs of Asia Minor, and ended with his defeat e retreated to the natural boundaries of Persia, the Western provinces falling under the Turks (4) Timurid art reached its climax at the end of the IxVxv)th century and the Safavid style was the next natural step in the route of evolution. Relations between Persia and Europe became stronger and the Muslims came into close contact with European art, and the 9 Migeon, Manuel (1997), vol. IT, Eig. 390 in Egypt, (2) Farid Shath. West Islamic Infuences on Arcjitecture Gn the Bull. of the Faculty or Arts. Cairo pp. I-49, with 41 igures and 17 plates) the Mosque of O Watzinger..., on cit. Pls. 12 ced, 13 a-b, and in fles of khadra at Naples (Photograph by creswell in the photographic nd ed., p. 37 the Museum of Islamic Art) al-Irantwa", O Zaki Muhammad Hasan al-Funin

result ot this contaet was clearly felt in the next century, when Portia ess beeaning to decline,and art and artists were gradually neplcotedo) Doearathon in general and toral ornament in particular rellected hearis all these events. The latter branch was at ita best in the Tinarid period dae to the tendency of artists to seek inspiratio their decoration from natural elements e). Artists and painters came the front in designing decorative patterns in mosaics, textiles e carsmics ana rugs. The iavasion of Egypt by the Turks, 923 doin, may be considered as one of most important turning points in the evolution of islamic art The Turks conquered many lands from South Europe down to Egypt, from which they collected groups of artists and craftsmen Persian artists were brought to work for them either as prisoners of war, or were attracted by fees the artistic centre was generous emdently Constantinople, the capital of the new empire Turkish art was consequently a mixture of different elements and traditions, and such mixture was clearly exhibited in the floral a decoration. They had many aspects, one of which was composed of Timurid and Safavid elements, naturalistic and conventional, the dominant elements of which were the and its derivatives. The LoTus AcANmaos and its components were also at work, and the combination of all of these, produced interesting varieties of forms and mot Another aspect of Turkish fora was directly inspired from naturl tulips, pinks and other kinds of flowers, also fruits, such a "i use poppy, the custard-apple, etc... All of them came into comm adopting decorative aspects and were mixed with other natm and conveamonal components O Zaki M. Hasan op. cie., pp. 38-39

the abstract element of me blamie origin formed anothe ente for the e kept then counse to the end, others served as coopoa other groups, The last thread of Muslim hold on spain snapped with the fall s97 (ld92), and the exile of Ahi Abdullnh Nuhammad That was the climax of many events that .י( in to Africa happened there in sueeeasive perioda, christians were regaining hold of the lands of adually Spain from the hands of the Muslims Muslim art.ist.s served under them, and their art, usually Mudejar retained many of the Muslim t.raditions and 'י known as featuren unt.il the x (wI)th century, when the Renaissance style came into use, The greater part of the Maghrib fell under the rule of the Turks in the x avn" century, Marmkesh only remaine l independant Maghrihi art was thus exposed to many influences, some Turkish, some liuropean, and disintegration was a natural end under such conditions. this last the art of all Islamic countries fell under the stage, spell of European art and gradually lost the individuality e. con litiona reversed and curre:nts from Europe increased until they wore swept away Islamic traditions, leaving some survivals in scattered centres which appear here and there through cheap imitations made n ing grades of skill for collectors and tourists l-lamie architecture earne to be used solely for mosques and tombs, also exhibit some fac:tors of modernization and economy In the bove stages it is important to note that the beginning of "ie marks clear turn on change in the course of evolution, but ange a Mistory of the Arabs', p, trohא A יי Amir Ali, (D Sayod o-Sin toa Funful at-lala the Arts or Ialam), p. is

aaas sat anes the end of the Brewoas ones which acted, it tes, a paimnserp hih aes ang to the snooeeding one, and continued its empse ase same time after the rise of the next stage. As sesearch on singie-blyx ornament sto at the beginnin, of eaa fourai seage. or in ather words, at the beginning of the d et Essonfig eat gas deporation of true Islamic descent. FLoRAL oRNAMENT lsataic plans deeonation is chiefiy formed by one or more stems of caereus lea gas, forms and distribution, but each stem is always of ame anaaaess in the decorative pattern. These stems usually grow sur freat a tree, a Tase or from another and sometimes from stem wrswuate. Tbe most common forms of the stems are the scrolls and nnatamms w hich resemhle the movements of the vines, hence the tand Time-aarole is sometimes used for this motif e. Leaves e famers are made to grow out of these branches in order to n the epaaes in hamreen, and the decorative patterns are thos Kang nesarches have been carried out on foral decoration, in w aias eleasexite ere given names and terms according to their ong" Cr es the aetawl types to which they bear kind of resemblan" some tier zniaciaa elements away from tappened sometimes to carry many

origin and mixed them with others, thus presenting some dificulties to the scholars who attempted to study them, and who in such cases caused some confusion by giving several names to one element In other cases it happend that a motif was named after another which does not have the slightest resemblance to it (1) obviously, such complications can be reduced to minimum if care is directed to a more analytical studies A diagramatic classification of Islamic ornament i given on page 26 to show that the sections of flora decoration can be made in to follow those in nature. Each section be divided into principal can and secondary groups according to analogous properties CALYX F0RMS The chief oragan of this groups is the BASE. It acts as the foundation for the other organs in nature and decoration Petal8 PetalB Stamens StanenB sepals Sepals Receptacue s Fig. 3 Diagramatic section of a natural flower A natural flower (Fig. consists of four distinct whorls of 3) organs (2), which differ in form and number in the different species, in cases one or more of the sets of organs being absent. some

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