By Oleg Grabar
A publication of soaking up curiosity and huge erudition. . . . All Islamic archaeologists and students will thank Professor Grabar for a profound and unique examine of an important and intricate box, that could impress controversy yet needs to provoke by means of its mastery and grace by way of its modesty.
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Extra info for The Formation of Islamic Art
Formal Muslim buildings were few: a palace in Damascus which may even have been an earlier palace refurbished for the new owners, and a few mosques. " An important change occurred after the accession to the caliphate of Abd al-Malik in 685 and especially under his successor al-Walid new monuments were (705-15), as suddenly a group of major built in the main cities greater importance Known is of Damascus, Jerusalem, Aleppo. But of far the change introduced in the countryside. archaeologically rather than through literary sources, consists of an enormous number of constructions — nearly fifty be identified securely and another one hundred are likely outside of the main urban centers.
This chapter will provide a sort of archaeological survey of the lands conquered by Islam between 634 and 751, for, in order to know when a work sidered Islamic, of art or a material object can properly be con- it is necessary to be aware of the degree of islam- which it is found. This awareness forms at one aspect of what the founder of scientific Islamic archaeology. Max van Berchem, called "the archaeological index" of a document, that is, the likely extent and value of the conclusions that can be deduced from it or, to use a term borrowed from linization of the area in least guistics, its An semantic field.
Studied for earlier times, is it is The archaeology most difficult to of Iraq, so well only beginning for the period sur- rounding the appearance of Islam, and we are aware of only a few with proper stratification to suggest any kind of differentiation between early Islamic and pre-Islamic times. On the other hand, with Samarra we have a major source of information for the ninth century, even though the study and exploration of the huge site is a Herculean task which has hardly begun. I will return shortly to an evaluation of its importance for our general problem of the formation of Islamic art.
The Formation of Islamic Art by Oleg Grabar