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Islam's unknown tradition of figuration
Many people believe that it is not permitted to depict human figures in Islamic art, but the Quran does not expressly forbid it, and the human figure does appear. While some Muslims have criticized and even destroyed human depictions as idolatrous, others have, from the very earliest period, commissioned works of art with human figures as an essential element. These figures appear everywhere: on ceramic dishes, inlaid metalwork, textiles, architecture and especially in detailed miniature paintings.
A copiously illustrated book on a subject that is rarely elucidated in the world of Islamic art, this publication focuses on the various ways the human figure has been used over time--used as ornament and symbol, scientific diagram, narrative illustration and independent painting. Organized thematically, the book presents 75 important works from Denmark's the David Collection, all of them focused on the human figure.
The Human Figure in Islamic Art traces how, despite a conventional prohibition on figural representation, portraying human figures has nonetheless always played an important role in Islamic art. Beautifully produced and richly illustrated, this publication offers a new insight into the historical and contemporary role of human life in Islamic art.