chapter  2
80 Pages

The Genesis of Islamic Art and the Problem of Mshattā

WithErnst Herzfeld

In the Hellenistic world their input gave rise to the transformation and eventual decay of Greek art, whereas in the Islamic world their labours resulted in the creation of Islamic art. The Hellenized countries had been united by Greek culture, while in the Islamic lands there was only religion and government. The entire culture of the first Islamic centuries has been clarified, to an extent that one could never have expected only a short while ago, translations, the Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum, the Encyclopaedia of Islam, and especially by papyrology. One uses the experiences and methods of other countries, and without connecting this to an immediate import of another art form, manifestations contribute essentially to the assimilation and formation of the same principles in early Islamic art. The foundation of numerous cities in the entire region of Islam demanded enormous resources. Mshatta is a structure in which baked brick, ashlar masonry, rubble, marble pillars and wooden beams were all used.