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Islamic art

Islamic art, art and architecture that grew out of the Islamic way of life. Because there was no strong tradition of Arab art, it adapted the Byzantine, Sassanian, and Coptic styles of Muslim-dominated lands. Arab influence added a sense of visual rhythm and an interest in astronomy and mathematics. Interpretations of the prophet Muhammad's sayings, however, forbade portrayals of people or animals either in religious art or elsewhere. In general, designs relied on abstract and mathematical forms, as well as the calligraphic rendering of Koranic texts; often every available piece of a building is so decorated. Early examples of Islamic architecture are the Kaaba and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The dominant style of mosque, with a minaret tower, was introduced under the Umayyad dynasty. A characteristic feature of Islamic buildings is the arch, in horseshoe, trefoil, and zigzag forms. The greatest Muslim mausoleum is the Taj Mahal. The Moorish Alhambra in Granada, Spain, is the most famous palace in the Islamic style. In craftwork there is also a distinctive Islamic tradition; as well as its famous rugs and textiles, the Islamic world developed beautiful pottery, including luster-glazed ceramics and metalwork.

See also: Islam.

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