Islamic Art – exploring the decorative arts of the Islamic world
hereWednesday 2 April 2014 at 2.00 pm
An expert in the history and culture of the Middle East and North Africa, Christopher Bradley is a professional tour guide and lecturer. He has written extensively on Arabia and is the author of The Discovery Guide to Yemen, Insight Guide to the Silk Road and Berlitz Guides to Libya; The Red Sea; Cairo; Abu Dhabi and Nile Cruising. As a film producer and cameraman he has made documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic TV and Channel 4.
This lecture covers aspects of Islamic art in some of the most important cities, sites and museums in the world especially Cordoba, Cairo, Damascus, Isfahan and Samarkand. From its Arabian heartland comes a wealth of decorated ceramics, carved wood, metalwork, glass, tiles, mosaics, carpets, architecture and gardens. Islamic art encompasses the great wealth of artistic treasures inspired by the Islamic religion, but there is also non-religious art such as the colourful dancing figures from the pleasure palaces of Persia; the simple mud brick decorations of a merchant caravanserai; or the delicate carved marble of arguably the world’s most beautiful building – the Taj Mahal. We tend to think of all Islamic art in a religious context, but within these regions are many non-Muslim communities of Copts, Jews and Zoroastrians whose own art is inextricably linked. Despite unifying themes of mosques, minarets, madrassas and mausoleums to be found between Morocco and China, each region has its own history that influences the decorative art we see today.