chapter  2
6 Pages

Academic Context

WithBilal Badat

Yasser Tabbaa's The Transformation of Islamic Art During the Sunni Revival emerges from the field of Islamic art and architecture. In an attempt to establish an intellectual context for The Transformation of Islamic Art, he acknowledges two key works. The first of these is Oleg Grabar's highly influential book, The Formation of Islamic Art. Grabar delivers his thesis by contextualizing early Islamic art and architecture against the historical backdrop of early Islamic ritualistic, cultural, and political practices. The second key work is Gulru Necipoglu's The Topkapi Scroll. He argues that the geometrical girih mode, a style of geometry characterized by the use of interlaced straps and star patterns, evolved out of the popularization of theoretical mathematics, optics, and geometry in late-Abbasid Baghdad. Tabbaa also acknowledges a debt to Necipoglu's Topkapi Scroll. He praised Necipoglu's contextual approach to the visual material, where she juxtaposes developments in Islamic ornament against theological and political discourses.