The Author’s Contribution
Yasser Tabbaa's The Transformation of Islamic Art During the Sunni Revival is the first book to systematically explore the impact of political, religious, and cultural changes in the Islamic world on the development of Islamic art and architecture during the early medieval period. In the title of his book, he acknowledges a debt to Oleg Grabar's The Formation of Islamic Art. He explores how new meanings were produced in Islamic art and architecture by focusing on how conflicts, challenges, and controversies contributed to the development of calligraphy, arabesque, and muqarnas vaulting. Tabbaa's approach to answering the question of meaning is to examine how art is defined through moments of conflict, political upheaval, and sectarian schism. A similar approach can be detected in Gulru Necipoglu's The Topkapi Scroll. Tabbaa describes Grabar and Necipoglu's works as important developments in the field and identifies strongly with the ways that both attempted to deal with questions of meaning in Islamic ornament.