chapter  6
18 Pages

Miḥrāb and ‘Anazah: A Study in Early Islamic Iconography 1

WithGeorge C. Miles

The one strikingly distinctive feature is the addition of a pious Islamic expression, such as bi’smillah or al-hamdu li’llah in Kufic characters in the obverse margin. Indeed from several points of view a very valuable little archaeological document and one of some importance in the history of early Islamic iconography. In the earliest days of Islam, when religion and state were entirely inseparable, the mosque was not only the absolute center of the faith but the ceremonial focal point of political leadership. And the very heart of the mosque was the mihrab. The anazah is usually defined as something between a staff and a spear with a head like a spear. All the concepts are in harmony with and complementary to the inscriptions and the symbolism of mihrab and anazah presented on the reverse of the coin.