1902 Encyclopedia > Mohammedanism (Islam) > Art in the Muslim World

(Part 15)


Art in the Muslim World

We know that the religion of the Prophet forbade any representation of the human figure. This prohibition does not appear to have been long observed, for we find that the walls of palaces and of the houses of the rich were covered with paintings. There was a school of painting art Basra, and a historian gives us the names of two painters of high celebrity in their art – Ibn ‘Aziz and Kosair.

The manufacture of paper was carried on very extensively, a fact which is easily explained when we think of the literary activity of the Moslem. The Arabs originally used parchment. For this, after the conquest of Egypt, they substituted papyrus, which was itself supplanted by paper, when the Arabs had opened communications with China. Paper mills were established in several of the provinces, and at Baghdad itself. Simultaneously with the appearance of this precious substance, the art of binding became one of the most flourishing industries, as did also the trades of the Shoemaker, the saddler, and the dyer, etc. etc. Retail commerce, lastly, undertook the distribution of the products of agriculture and industry. In almost all the cities of the empire markets were held, where the fruiterer and grocer (Bakkal), the butcher (Jazzar), the armorer (Saikal), the bookseller (Warrak) and the druggist and perfumer (Attar), offered their wares for sale. (ST.G.)

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