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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection Consignment : Islamic Tile
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Islamic Tile - JB.1212
Origin: Afghanistan
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 13.4" (34.0cm) high x 9.6" (24.4cm) wide
Collection: Islamic

Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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Ancient Persia was a vast geographical area encompassing most of what is today Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and parts of Central Asia. It had been home to three great empires – Achaemenid, Parthian and Sasanian – reaching as far back as 550 BC. Persia became Islamic in the eighth century following its conquest by Arab armies. For a time it was incorporated into the Baghdad-based Arab Abbasid Empire, the Turkish Seljuk Empire, and the Mongol Ilkhanid Empire. It is out of this cosmopolitan, multi-cultural environment with its Persian, Arab and Turkish inhabitants that some of the most extraordinary Islamic ceramics of all time were created. The most immediate and enduring impact Islam had on the arts of Persia – and of all the lands in which the religion predominated – was the introduction of beautiful writing as a design element. The Arabic language, and by extension its alphabet, was highly revered because of its identification with the Quran, the Muslim holy book. In addition, the very nature of Arabic letters allows it to be both easily applied to a variety of shapes, and to be worked into nearly abstract designs by talented artists. Initially written exclusively in Arabic, inscriptions on ceramics were later written in Persian using the Arabic alphabet. They ranged from the name of the artist, to blessings bestowed on the owner of the piece (undoubtedly the patron who commissioned its creation), to aphorisms such as “Patience is the key to comfort.” Verses from the Quran are conspicuously absent. Interestingly, many of the inscriptions are illegible. Perhaps the sayings were so familiar to people that they only needed to be alluded to with “loose” writing. Or perhaps the artist was only interested in communicating writing’s purely aesthetic quality, rather than its ability to convey meaning. - (JB.1212)


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