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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : Harvard Art Museums : Room 2550

Harvard Art Museums – Room 2550

Art From Us, Museum Guide #879

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #879 the spotlight is on the Harvard Art Museums’ Room 2550. Showcasing a collection of The Middle East and North Africa.

The three works in focus are :

Tombstone, 1117
Luster Star tile with Seated Figure, 12th – 13th century
Bowl with Rooster and Fish, 10th century

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #879

According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums :

“Despite decades of usage, the term “Islamic art” remains ambiguous. It is used here to designate works of art made by or for Muslims, or works of art produced in lands where the rulers or the majority of the population followed or follow the faith of Islam. This installation offers a glimpse of Harvard’s holdings of Islamic art…”

The objects in the gallery are representative of the spread of Islam that started in the 7th century. Islamic art is highly decorative in nature and typical draws inspiration from the Qurʾan, the holy text for all muslims.

Apart from fine art, the decorative arts and handicrafts flourished in Islamic countries during this era. Craftsmen would create both decorative and ritualistic objects that are used in the various ceremonies relating to Islamic practices.

Apart from drawing inspiration from their sacred text, Islamic artists would also borrow motifs from nature. Animals, flowers, birds and trees can often be seen on decorative objects.

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