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'Give an account of the main mosques of Samarra' and al-Fustat in the early 'Abbasid period.' - Essay Example

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Great Mosques of the Islamic Abbasid period Great Mosques of the Islamic Abbasid period Introduction The great Mosques of Islamic culture built during the medieval period serve as monuments to their time, their religion, and to the cultures of that time…
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Give an account of the main mosques of Samarra and al-Fustat in the early Abbasid period.
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"'Give an account of the main mosques of Samarra' and al-Fustat in the early 'Abbasid period.'"

Download file to see previous pages Through a discussion that begins with first developing a basic understanding of the function and form of Mosques from the medieval period, then moving through a discussion of specific structures, an exploration of the Mosques from the Abbasid period can be made in order to better understand the importance of these great structures. Function In attempting to study the architecture of the Islamic world, Hillenbrand suggests that one of the primary difficulties lies in the terminology that is used. This is due to the multiplicity of purposes that each building would serve as a function within the culture. He states “Small wonder that one and the same building could be designated by a string of descriptive terms if each did in truth refer to some aspect of its regular function”.1 In examining the ways in which the buildings of the Islamic middle ages were used it is clear that that mosques were not only used for worship, madrasas were not only used for education, and neither were mausolea used just for burial. The many needs of the culture were fit into the buildings through multiple functionalities, thus the first understanding of such buildings must be made through the idea of function. In discussing function, the first problem that can be seen in studying Islamic buildings is that there is little in the way of written information on the building of these structures. Technical renderings and information about the circumstances of how these buildings came into being are few and far between, allowing for only the buildings themselves to serve as objects of study on their construction.2 Although there is suspicion that the Islamic religious aesthetics influenced the building of Mosques during the medieval period, there is no explicit reference known or accessible to Western cultures that suggest that this is the case. Therefore, in studying the function of such buildings, one must look at the building itself to try and access this aspect and the culture in order to understand the development of needs for which the building served as a solution for cultural needs. According to Meri and Bacharach, however, most Mosques of the medieval period were designed after the creation of house that was build for Mohamed in Medina, which is located in Saudi Arabia. Literary evidence of the form of this house is more relevant than the archaeological as it is described as having a “large walled courtyard with entrances on three sides and two covered porticos, the larger of which functions as a sanctuary for the faithful where they may find shelter from the sun during prayer”.3 The original orientation of the qibla wall, the wall of the larger portico, was originally facing towards Jerusalem, and then later towards Mecca, thus providing for the importance of orientation when building a Mosque. The small portico was used as a place of shelter for those who were poor, thus setting up the division of classes within the Mosque cultural usage. The three basic elements developed from this original structure were the courtyard for the gathering of the followers of Islam, the sanctuary for prayer, and the qibla wall.4 Form Hillenbrand lists three distinct areas in which form can be discussed. The first is in hierarchy, the second is in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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