Decorative motifs

Dr. Yasmine Al Saleh, Spring 2021
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Art 103 RESPONSE PAPER ONE DUE MARCH 28 11:59 PM ON MOODLE AND IN
EMAIL FORM
Compare and contrast the following monuments and objects. All of the objects have a form of
calligraphy on them. Make sure to talk about the script of the calligraphy: Kufic, Naskh, angular.
Make sure to talk about the medium: paper, parchment, metal, ceramic, or ivory.
What is a visual analysis?
It is a description of the “formal” aspects of an object of art. When looking at an object of art,
consider the following:
• Material
• The function of the object or use
• Provenance (location it is from)
• The object’s date (if available)
• Size
• Colors
• Decorative motifs
• Calligraphy (style of the script)
• Details of the object: is it an architectural piece (floor mosaic, wooden beam, or a
column, or maybe a form of soft architecture (tent, wall covering, tomb cover)? Does it
depict geometric motifs or vegetal or floral or calligraphic motifs?
If it is a calligraphic folio: Is it on parchment or paper? How many lines of text are on the
folio? Is there vocalizations or diacritics?
• If it is a painting: observe if it is a realistic or naturalistic depiction of the subject? Is there
linear perspective? Is it an accurate depiction of a space?
• Observe if there are figures: are they positioned in a frontal or profile view, If there is a
ruler is he/she flanked by other people, and observe the clothes of the people/ robes
Once, the objects have been described then create an analysis about them. Compare and
contrast the two objects or monuments- each pair of objects follows a particular theme. What is
the theme that links the objects or monuments in a particular pair? And how are they related?
How are they not related and are different? These are a few questions you should consider when
writing your paper.
Writing the paper: Once you have chosen a pair of objects, and after you have taken the time to
observe and write down all the formal aspects of an object, then put them into essay form.
Compare and contrast the objects. Pretend your reader has never seen these two objects before,
and you are writing this up for a magazine or a museum catalog. This
is an analysis. Make sure your paper has an introduction, a middle, and conclusion. The paper
should be 2-3 pages.
Dr. Yasmine Al Saleh, Spring 2021
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RESPONSE PAPER ONE DUE MARCH 28 ON MOODLE AND EMAIL FORM:
THREE OPTIONS CHOOSE ONE
OPTION 1
Calligraphy
With the codification of the Quran into a book (kitab), please discuss these two important
manuscripts of Quran Amajur, and Ibn Al-Bawwab Quran? What are the two styles of
calligraphy found on the two Qurans? What are the dates of both Qurans? Makes sure to mention
Kufic, Naskh, or Thuluth scripts? How many lines of script per folio? Are their diacritics on the
folio? What colors are used for the writing? Are there any notes on the folio?
• Quran Amajur: https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-ADD-01116
• George, Alain Fouad. “The Geometry of the Qur’an of Amajur: A Preliminary Study of
Proportion in Early Arabic Calligraphy.” Muqarnas, vol. 20, 2003, pp. 1–15. JSTOR,
www.jstor.org/stable/1523324. Accessed 8 July 2020.
• Ibn Al- Bawwab Quran:
http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;ir;Mus21;5;en
• https://viewer.cbl.ie/viewer/object/Is_1431/1/LOG_0000/
• Calligraphy: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/cali/hd_cali.htm
OPTION 2
SAMANID POTTERY & KASHAN LUSTRE
With the development of calligraphy on everyday objects. Please describe the two ceramics and
the two kinds of techniques used. Make sure to discuss the date of production, the calligraphy
used and the type of script used? And if there is an image or figures- how does the image relate
to the text? Notice the color of the script? Is there more than one color used? Again, make sure to
include the dates and the geographic location of the object.
• Samanid bowl, 10th century: https://harvardartmuseums.org/art/165498
• I have attached an article on moodle: Panagaroglu “Serving Wisdom: The Contents of
Samanid Epigraphic Pottery”
• Kashan Lustre: Plate with male and female figure from the David collection, signed and
dated by Abu Zayd Jumada II 600 AH/ Feb-March 1204 CE
• https://www.davidmus.dk/en/collections/islamic/materials/ceramics/art/45-2001
Here is a link to an article about Abu Zayd: Blair, Sheila S. 2008. A Brief Biography of
Abu Zayd. In Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World XXV.
155-176. https://archnet.org/publications/6783
OPTIONS 3
• Wade cup known for its animated script , brass inlaid with silver, Seljuq Iran 1200-1221
CE. The animated inscription reads: “Glory, and success, and government, and bliss, and
soundness, and peace of mind, and mercy, and well-being, good health, and duration, and
Dr. Yasmine Al Saleh, Spring 2021
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increase, and satisfaction, and care, and continuance to its owner.”
https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1944.485
• Ivory Pyxis: Ivory pyxis made for the al-Mughira in 968 CE (son of Abd Al-Rahman III)
Prince holds the bottle and a flower in his hand
Inscription is an angular Kufic is a blessing to al-Mughira:
https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonialamericas/ap-art-islamic-world-medieval/a/pyxis-of-al-mughira

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