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LEVNI - Sultan Ahmet III and the heir to the throne (1700)
Abbasid and Fatimid art Decorative Inlay 11th Century (1050)
This sophisticated ivorywork offers an insight into the court culture of the eastern Mediterranean lands. The four animal-combat motifs on the vertical panels – eagles or lions attacking gazelles – are symbols of princely power and thus also refer to the courtly milieu from which the other images are taken. The upper panel shows falconers with their hunting dogs. Between the riders are two courtiers carrying gazelles. On the lower panel carousing princes enjoy music and song: there are flautists and lutenists, and one female lute-player is dancing. There are more musicians on one of the side-panels, while on the other are a drunkard and, representing the idea of the grape harvest, a farmer with a basketful of grapes. All the figures are surrounded by an openwork background of vine tendrils. The ivory thus reflects the multicultural world of the eastern Mediterranean, in which Christians in their vineyards produced the intoxicating liquor forbidden to the Muslims, but which was nonetheless popular with the higher classes. The caliphs of Cairo were in the habit of attending – as well disguised as possible – the boisterous festivities of the Christians, to give themselves over, against a background of music and song, to the pleasures of wine and to fleeting amorous adventures. This richly detailed carving, which probably decorated a throne, offers a fascinating symbolic representation of courtly life, and at the same time a vision of eternal life in paradise. Probably produced in Cairo, it shows a certain similarity to woodcarvings from the palaces of the Fatimid caliphs.
Calligraphy In The Shape Of A Hoopoe- Bismillah ... 17th Century (1650)
The bird is a striking example of the so-called “calligrams”, figurative imagery artfully drawn from characters, which were very popular particularly in later Islamic calligraphy. Since this form of calligraphy was used especially in the field of Islamic mysticism, it tends to have a religious background. Thus, it is words such as Allah (God), Ali (the name of the fourth caliph worshipped especially by the Shiites), or the Islamic Bismallah phrase, in particular, that are transformed by means of sweeping brushstrokes into mosques, lions, swords or, as the Bismallah is here, into a bird. Calligrams such as these were particularly popular in the home and mounted on the walls of homes, businesses and shops. Even today there are numerous calligraphers that specialize in calligrams.
Pergamonmuseum, Berlin | Upper floor | Islamic book art (temporary exhibition) 1 Calligraphy In The Shape Of A Hoopoe- Bismillah ... 17th CenturyDetails Unknown.jpg
Mahmud al-Husain im Rabi’I - Majnun among the wild animals (1420)
The image illustrates a scene from the famous love story of “Layla and Majnun”, one of the most famous of all works of Arab literature that became particularly popular in the later version by the Persian poet Nizami. The story is about the Arab Bedouin Majnun and his love for his childhood friend Layla that cannot be fulfilled. Majnun goes mad (Arab “majnun” means “madman”) and withdraws into the solitude of the desert where he lives among the wild animals. The illustration shows Majnun on a hill in the desert, kneeling down with a deer that eats from his hand.
Pergamonmuseum, Berlin | Upper floor | Islamic book art (temporary exhibition) 1 Majnun Among The Wild Animals 1420Details Mahmud al-Husain im Rabi I.jpg