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The Meaning of Islamic Art: Explorations in Religious Symbolism and Social Relevance (In 2 Volumes)

 
Khursheed Kamal Aziz (Author)
Synopsis

The publishers confidently claim that this is the first book of its kind to appear in Pakistan, and probably in the world. An immense amount of work has been done on Islamic Art in the West, but no Muslim or non-Muslim scholar has concentrated his gaze on its religious symbolism and its special place in Islamic civilization and culture. Professor Aziz explores these two facets of Islamic art with consummate skill without completely neglecting the role of time in their development and evolution.

He brings out the point that Islamic Art is, above everything else, Islamic because it is rooted in a particular religion's beliefs, values, traditions and concepts. He emphasizes that it is predominantly a spiritual art because it represents the non-worldly aspirations, instincts and urges of a believer. This has created a powerful symbolism, and he uncovers the layers of meaning and significances underlying the various symbols, whether borrowed from other traditions or inherent in Islam. He also stresses the close connection between this art and Sufism. A parallel thread runs throughout the book: the close proximity between this art and the society which produced or lived with it; a unique feature of Islamic civilization.

The author has spent 20 years in preparing this study, and for his facts and insights he has gone not only to Islamic religious texts, philosophy, theology, psychology and eschatology but also to the values and traditions of other faiths and civilizations. For this purpose he has used his proficiency in 9 languages and his knowledge of the poetical and non-poetical literature of 4 tongues. The whole treatment is immaculately documented, richly illustrated, and carries an invaluable and comprehensive bibliography.

In spite of his disclaimer that he is a specialist of the subject and his assertion that he has written this book for his own pleasure and satisfaction, Aziz emerges as a major art historian and critic. This work will stand the test of time in the world of scholarship. It will also give the reader much joy because of its exquisite style.

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About the author

Khursheed Kamal Aziz

 Professor Khursheed Kamal Aziz was born in December 1927 in village Ballamabad near Faisalabad, and was educated at the M.B. High School, Batala, Foreman Christian College and the Government College. Lahore, and the Victoria University of Manchester. He has been on the academic staff of the Government College, Lahore, and of the Universities of the Punjab, London, Cambridge, Khartoum and Heidelberg, and has delivered occasional lectures at the universities of Karachi, Peshawar, Dacca, Islamabad. Hull, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Geneva, Oxford and Bergen. During intervals snatched from teaching abroad he has served at home as deputy Official Historian to the Government of Pakistan, Chairman of the National Commission on Historical and Cultural Research, and Special Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister (Z.A. Bhutto). Author of over a dozen books, he is a historian of rank with an international reputation.                                                                                                  

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Bibliographic information

Title The Meaning of Islamic Art: Explorations in Religious Symbolism and Social Relevance (In 2 Volumes)
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8174353992, 9788174353979
length xliv+1831p., Figures; Color Plates; Appendices; Bibliography; Index; 25cm.