Elizabeth Foster

In viewing the exhibition of Islamic religious art, I couldn’t help but note the intricacy and decadence of detail used in each piece. In learning about Mosques and the interior void of idols or decoration, these beautiful pieces seemed an interesting contrast. While this could seem a contradiction, in truth I think it reaffirms the idea of a blank interior in prayer space, for it is not due to a dismissal of aesthetic beauty, but instead a separation between a home of God, and the person ways in which we honor Him. Of these prayer objects I was most taken aback by the jewelry, which was not only appealing on a visual level, but featured Quaranic verses on the stones themselves. This incorporation of Islam into jewelry reaffirmed the incorporation of the Quran into daily life. There is no separation between life and religion, for all fall under God, carrying His presence in all aspects. Along with this emphasis on the Quranic verse was a similar incorporation of poetry, which I understand is inherent in the Quran itself. Just as often as the Quran was features so was poetry, used in a similarly with almost equal holy attachment. This once again called attention to the seamless relationship between art and religion, for each verse of poetry was a form of worship, and therefore this creative form is held as holy in itself.

Another piece that caught my eye was that of the man reading from the Quran. Upon reading the description I learned of the formality with which one must read the Quran, on a platform not touching the ground. Though I was aware of the cleanliness with which one must handle the Quran, the distinction between ground and presentation was interesting. The emphasis placed upon recitation by such a small figure also once again gave insight into the importance of rhythm, and the deep roots of music in Islam. The figure hold his hand to his ear, assuring he adheres to the regulations with which one must recite the Quran.