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Guide Threes: The Amazing Thread that Runs through the Fabric of Ancient, Classical and Modern Society

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Eventually, Muhammad was victorious and reentered Mecca in The Kaaba is believed to have been built by Abraham or Ibrahim as he is known in Arabic and his son, Ishmael. The Arabs claim descent from Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar. The Kaaba then became the most important center for pilgrimage in Islam. In , Muhammad died in Medina. Muslims believe that he was the final in a line of prophets, which included Moses, Abraham, and Jesus. The Sunnis, who do not hold that Ali should have directly succeeded Muhammad, compose the largest branch of Islam; their adherents can be found across North Africa, the Middle East, as well as in Asia and Europe.

During the seventh and early eighth centuries, the Arab armies conquered large swaths of territory in the Middle East, North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, and Central Asia, despite on-going civil wars in Arabia and the Middle East. However, with the Abbasid Revolution, no one ruler would ever again control all of the Islamic lands.

Studying the art of the Islamic world is challenging, partially because of the large geographic and chronological scope of Islam. Islam has been a major religion and cultural force for over fourteen centuries and continues to be so today. It also helps students to understand how works of art and architecture relate to each other in time and space. There were dynasties and empires that controlled different lands and whose periods of rule stretched across these chronological divisions. The Dome of the Rock Qubbat al-Sakhra , Umayyad, stone masonry, wooden roof, decorated with glazed ceramic tile, mosaics, and gilt aluminum and bronze dome, , with multiple renovations, patron the Caliph Abd al-Malik, Jerusalem photo: Orientalist, CC BY 3.

However, from there were conflicts over succession, and two civil wars and broke out within the community of Muslims. Out of these wars emerged the Umayyad Dynasty, whose capital was Damascus in modern-day Syria. The Abbasids, like the Umayyads before them, ruled as caliphs over much of the Islamic world until Their capital was at Baghdad, and later they ruled from the palace-city of Samarra in Iraq for parts of the ninth century.

After , the Abbasids lost control of large parts of their empire through a series of uprisings in which provincial governors asserted their independence. A series of local dynasties, such as the Aghlabids and Tulunids in North Africa, and the Buyids in Central Asia, emerged and ruled, developing regional artistic styles.

By the tenth century, there was fragmentation and individual dynasties sprang up. In North Africa and the Near East, certain major dynasties, such as the Fatimids , emerged and ruled an area that includes present-day Egypt, Sicily, Algeria, Tunisia, and parts of Syria. It is also at this time that some of the major Turkic dynasties and people from Central Asia came to the forefront of politics and artistic creativity in the Islamic world. The main branch of the Seljuqs, the Great Seljuqs, maintained control over Iran. It was also the time of the European Christian crusades, which aimed to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims.

A series of small Christian Kingdoms emerged in the twelfth century, as did Muslim dynasties, such as the Ayyubids , whose most famous leader, Salah al-Din r. The Mamluks also had to face one of the greatest threats to their reign early on: The invading Mongols. The Mongols and their great leader, Genghis Khan c. The Ilkhanids, who ruled over Iran, parts of Iraq and Central Asia, oversaw great artistic development in manuscripts, such as those that recounted the Shahnama or Book of Kings , the famous Persian epic. They were important patrons of architecture.

The Ilkhanid dynasty disintegrated in and local dynasties came to power in Iraq and Iran. In , the last great dynasty emerged from Central Asia: the Timurids c. They were named for their leader, Timur also known as Tamerlane , who conquered and controlled all of Central Asia, greater Iran, and Iraq, as well as parts of southern Russia and the Indian subcontinent. The Timurids were outstanding builders of monumental architecture. Herat, in present-day Afghanistan, became the capital and cultural center of the Timurid empire.

While artistic production and architecture flourished in Asia under different Islamic dynasties, it also bloomed in the western Islamic lands. The most famous of these dynasties is probably the Nasrids of the southern Iberian Peninsula and western North Africa, whose most important artistic achievement is the remarkable Alhambra, a palace-fortress complex in Granada, in present-day Spain.

This period is the era of the last great Islamic Empires. The Ottoman Empire, which had started as a small Turkic state in Anatolia in the early fourteenth century, emerged in the second half of the fifteenth century as a major military and political force. The Ottomans conquered Constantinople in and the Mamluk Empire in This period is considered the peak of Ottoman art and culture. The Safavids, who established Shia Islam as the dominant faith of Iran, ruled from — and were the greatest dynasty to emerge from Iran.

Architecture, paintings, manuscripts and carpets all flourished under the Safavids. Shah Abbas r. The other great dynasty that oversaw a remarkable artistic and architectural output was the Mughals. While there had been earlier sultanates in what is today northern Indian and Pakistan, the emperors of the Mughal dynasty were patrons of some of the greatest works of Islamic art, such as illuminated manuscripts and painting, and architecture, including the Taj Mahal. But what is Islamic Art? Islamic Art is a modern concept, created by art historians in the nineteenth century to categorize and study the material first produced under the Islamic peoples that emerged from Arabia in the seventh century.

Today Islamic Art describes all of the arts that were produced in the lands where Islam was the dominant religion or the religion of those who ruled. Unlike the terms Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist art, which refer only to religious art of these faiths, Islamic art is not used merely to describe religious art or architecture, but applies to all art forms produced in the Islamic World.

Thus, Islamic Art refers not only to works created by Muslim artists, artisans, and architects or for Muslim patrons. It encompasses the works created by Muslim artists for a patron of any faith, including Christians, Jews, or Hindus, and the works created by Jews, Christians, and others, living in Islamic lands, for patrons, Muslim and otherwise. Hinduism is majority religion in India; however, because Muslim rulers, most famously the Mughals, dominated large areas of modern-day India for centuries, India has a vast range of Islamic art and architecture. First constructed in C.

In fact, much Islamic art and architecture was—and still is—created through a synthesis of local traditions and more global ideas. Islamic Art is not a monolithic style or movement; it spans 1, years of history and has incredible geographic diversity—Islamic empires and dynasties controlled territory from Spain to western China at various points in history. However, few if any of these various countries or Muslim empires would have referred to their art as Islamic. An artisan in Damascus thought of his work as Syrian or Damascene—not as Islamic.

As a result of thinking about the problems of calling such art Islamic, certain scholars and major museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have decided to omit the term Islamic when they renamed their new galleries of Islamic art. Thus, when using the phrase, Islamic Art, one should know that it is a useful, but artificial, concept. In some ways, Islamic Art is a bit like referring to the Italian Renaissance. During the Renaissance, there was no unified Italy; it was a land of independent city-states. Each city developed a highly local, remarkable style.

At the same time, there are certain underlying themes or similarities that unify the art and architecture of these cities and allow scholars to speak of an Italian Renaissance. Similarly, there are themes and types of objects that link the arts of the Islamic World together. Calligraphy is a very important art form in the Islamic World. Quranic verses, executed in calligraphy, are found on many different forms of art and architecture. Likewise, poetry can be found on everything from ceramic bowls to the walls of houses. Geometric and vegetative motifs are very popular throughout the lands where Islam was once or still is a major religion and cultural force, appearing in the private palaces of buildings such as the Alhambra in Spain as well as in the detailed metal work of Safavid Iran.

Likewise, certain building types appear throughout the Muslim world: mosques with their minarets, mausolea, gardens, and madrasas religious schools are all common. However, their forms vary greatly. One of the most common misconceptions about the art of the Islamic World is that it is aniconic; that is, the art does not contain representations of humans or animals. Religious art and architecture, almost from the earliest examples, such as the Dome of the Rock, the Aqsa Mosque both in Jerusalem , and the Great Mosque of Damascus, built under the Umayyad rulers, did not include human figures and animals.

The study of the arts of the Islamic World has also lagged behind other fields in Art History. There are several reasons for this. First, many scholars are not familiar with Arabic or Farsi the dominant language in Iran. Calligraphy, particularly Arabic calligraphy, as noted above, is a major art form and appears on almost all types of architecture and arts. Second, the art forms and objects prized in the Islamic world do not correspond to those traditionally valued by art historians and collectors in the Western world. The so-called decorative arts—carpets, ceramics, metalwork, and books—are types of art that Western scholars have traditionally valued less than painting and sculpture.

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However, the last fifty years has seen a flourishing of scholarship on the arts of the Islamic World. We have organized the material in this section into three chronological periods: Early, Medieval and Late. When starting to learn about a new area of art, chronological organization often enables students to grasp the material and its fundamentals before going on to more complex analysis, like comparing building types or styles.

Within each of these chronological groups, we have focused on creating geographic groups or groupings to organize the material further. Soon various dynasties or rulers simultaneously commanded sections of territory, many of which had no cultural commonalities, aside from their religion. We are also planning to upload a series of introductory essays on major types of art and architecture from the Islamic World, including carpets and mosques, in addition to essays and videos about specific works of art and architecture.

These are forthcoming.

About Chronological Periods

Arabic, Persian and Turkish are complex languages whose transcription from their respective scripts to English has changed considerably over time. For the sake of ease, we have used the most common forms today, omitting the vocalizations. While we have aimed for consistency, we have also tried to use the simplest forms for those who are new to the arts of the Islamic World. Almost as soon as the Arab armies of Islam conquered new lands, they began erecting mosques and palaces, as well as commissioning other works of art as expressions of their faith and culture. Connected to this, many aspects of religious practice in Islam also emerged and were codified.

The profession of Faith the shahada is the most fundamental expression of Islamic beliefs. It is an extremely popular phrase in Arabic calligraphy and appears in numerous manuscripts and religious buildings. Muslims are expected to pray five times a day. This does not mean that they need to attend a mosque to pray; rather, the salat, or the daily prayer, should be recited five times a day. Muslims can pray anywhere; however, they are meant to pray towards Mecca.

The faithful are meant to pray by bowing several times while standing and then kneel and touch the ground or prayer mat with their foreheads, as a symbol of their reverence and submission to Allah. On Friday, many Muslims attend the mosque near mid-day to pray and to listen to a sermon khutba. The giving of alms is the third pillar. During the holy month of Ramadan the ninth month in the Islamic calendar , Muslims are expected to fast from dawn to dusk.

While there are exceptions made for the sick, elderly, and pregnant, all are expected to refrain from eating and drinking during day-light hours. Pilgrimage focuses on visiting the Kaaba and walking around it seven times. Pilgrimage occurs in the twelfth month of the Islamic Calendar. From The British Museum. This view is from the east of the holy mosque with the city of Mecca in the background. Muhammad Sadiq Bey , the Egyptian army engineer, surveyor and a pioneer of photography, probably took this photograph from one of the minarets of the holy mosque.

One of the five pillars of Islam central to Muslim belief, Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime if they are able; it is the most spiritual event that a Muslim experiences, observing rituals in the most sacred places in the Islamic world. Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad.

As such, it is a deeply spiritual destination for Muslims all over the world; it is the heart of Islam. It was in Mecca that the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelations in the early 7th century. Therefore the city has long been viewed as a spiritual centre and the heart of Islam.

The rituals involved with Hajj have remained unchanged since its beginning, and it continues to be a powerful religious undertaking which draws Muslims together from all over the world, irrespective of nationality or sect. Even before Islam, Mecca was an important site of pilgrimage for the Arab tribes of north and central Arabia.


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Although they believed in many deities, they came once a year to worship Allah at Mecca. During this sacred month, violence was forbidden within Mecca, allowing trade to flourish. As a result, Mecca became an important commercial centre. The revelation of Islam to the Prophet Muhammad d.

Hajj involves a series of rituals that take place in and around Mecca over a period of five to six days. Muslims believe that the rituals of Hajj have their origin in the time of the prophet Ibrahim Abraham. Muhammad led the Hajj himself in , the year of his death. The Hajj now attracts about three million pilgrims every year from across the world. From the furthest reaches of the Islamic world, pilgrims have made the spiritual journey that is the ambition of a lifetime. As Hajj needs to be performed at a designated time, historically pilgrims moved together in convoys.

In the past the journey could be extremely dangerous. Pilgrims often fell ill or were robbed on the way and became destitute. However, pilgrims do not fear dying on Hajj. It is believed that those who die on Hajj will go to heaven with their sins erased. Today, pilgrims can get on an airplane to reach Saudi Arabia, making the journey in contrast with the past quick and less arduous. Although the main acts of the Hajj take place in five days during the twelfth month, a pilgrim can start going into consecration ihram for Hajj earlier, from the beginning of the tenth month Shawwal.

The Muslim calendar is lunar, which means that the Hajj takes place progressively across all four seasons over time rather than in the full heat of summer every year. On foot, by camel, boat, train or airplane, going on Hajj is a spiritual endeavor that begins at home and culminates in Mecca; in going, arriving, and returning, the pilgrim is mindful of the magnitude of the journey and the reward in this world and the hereafter. When pilgrims undertake the Hajj journey, they follow in the footsteps of millions before them.

Nowadays hundreds of thousands of believers from over 70 nations arrive in Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by road, sea and air every year, completing a journey faster and in some ways less arduous than it often was in the past.


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Those traveling overland by camel and on foot congregated at three central points: Kufa Iraq , Damascus Syria and Cairo Egypt. Pilgrims coming by sea would enter Arabia at the port of Jedda. The Kaaba, granite masonry, covered with silk curtain and calligraphy in gold and silver-wrapped thread, pre-Islamic monument, rededicated by Muhammad in C. Pilgrimage to a holy site is a core principle of almost all faiths. The Kaaba, meaning cube in Arabic, is a square building, elegantly draped in a silk and cotton veil.

Located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, it is the holiest shrine in Islam. In Islam, Muslims pray five times a day and after C. All Muslims aspire to undertake the hajj, or the annual pilgrimage, to the Kaaba once in their life if they are able. Prayer five times a day and the hajj are two of the five pillars of Islam, the most fundamental principles of the faith. Upon arriving in Mecca, pilgrims gather in the courtyard of the Masjid al-Haram around the Kaaba.

They then circumambulate tawaf in Arabic or walk around the Kaaba, during which they hope to kiss and touch the Black Stone al-Hajar al-Aswad , embedded in the eastern corner of the Kaaba. The Kaaba was a sanctuary in pre-Islamic times. Tradition holds that it was originally a simple unroofed rectangular structure. The Quraysh tribe, who ruled Mecca, rebuilt the pre-Islamic Kaaba in c.

A door was raised above ground level to protect the shrine from intruders and flood waters. Muhammad was driven out of Mecca in C. The pre-Islamic Kaaba housed the Black Stone and statues of pagan gods. Muhammad reportedly cleansed the Kaaba of idols upon his victorious return to Mecca, returning the shrine to the monotheism of Ibrahim. The Black Stone is believed to have been given to Ibrahim by the angel Gabriel and is revered by Muslims.

Muhammad made a final pilgrimage in C. The Kaaba has been modified extensively throughout its history. Reportedly, the Black Stone broke into three pieces and Ibn Zubayr reassembled it with silver. After regaining control of Mecca, Abd al-Malik restored the part of the building that Muhammad is thought to have designed. None of these renovations can be confirmed through study of the building or archaeological evidence; these changes are only outlined in later literary sources.

Reportedly under the Umayyad caliph al-Walid ruled , the mosque that encloses the Kaaba was decorated with mosaics like those of the Dome of the Rock and the Great Mosque of Damascus. By the seventh century, the Kaaba was covered with kiswa, a black cloth that is replaced annually during the hajj. Under the early Abbasid Caliphs , the mosque around the Kaaba was expanded and modified several times. According to travel writers, such as the Ibn Jubayr, who saw the Kaaba in , it retained the eighth century Abbasid form for several centuries. From , the Mamluks of Egypt controlled the Hijaz, the highlands in western Arabia where Mecca is located.

Sultan Qaitbay ruled built a madrasa a religious school against one side of the mosque. In , the Kaaba and the surrounding mosque were entirely rebuilt after floods had demolished them in the previous year. This mosque, which is what exists today, is composed of a large open space with colonnades on four sides and with seven minarets, the largest number of any mosque in the world.

At the center of this large plaza sits the Kaaba, as well as many other holy buildings and monuments. The last major modifications were carried out in the s by the government of Saudi Arabia to accommodate the increasingly large number of pilgrims who come on the hajj. Today the mosque covers almost forty acres. Today, the Kaaba is a cubical structure, unlike almost any other religious structure. It is fifteen meters tall and ten and a half meters on each side; its corners roughly align with the cardinal directions. The door of the Kaaba is now made of solid gold; it was added in The kiswa, a large cloth that covers the Kaaba, which used to be sent from Egypt with the hajj caravan, today is made in Saudi Arabia.

Until the advent of modern transportation, all pilgrims undertook the often dangerous hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca in a large caravan across the desert, leaving from Damascus, Cairo, or other major cities in Arabia, Yemen or Iraq. The numerous changes to the Kaaba and its associated mosque serve as good reminder of how often buildings, even sacred ones, were renovated and remodeled either due to damage or to the changing needs of the community.

Every year, 25, British Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca. As part of the exhibition, Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam , the British Museum asked what this journey is like. Video from TED-Ed. Speaker: Eric Broug. From Indonesia to the United Kingdom, the mosque in its many forms is the quintessential Islamic building.

Mosques are also used throughout the week for prayer, study, or simply as a place for rest and reflection. The style, layout, and decoration of a mosque can tell us a lot about Islam in general, but also about the period and region in which the mosque was constructed. The home of the Prophet Muhammad is considered the first mosque. His house, in Medina in modern-day Saudi Arabia, was a typical 7th-century Arabian style house, with a large courtyard surrounded by long rooms supported by columns.

The architecture of a mosque is shaped most strongly by the regional traditions of the time and place where it was built. As a result, style, layout, and decoration can vary greatly. Nevertheless, because of the common function of the mosque as a place of congregational prayer, certain architectural features appear in mosques all over the world. The most fundamental necessity of congregational mosque architecture is that it be able to hold the entire male population of a city or town women are welcome to attend Friday prayers, but not required to do so.

To that end congregational mosques must have a large prayer hall. Within the courtyard one often finds a fountain, its waters both a welcome respite in hot lands, and important for the ablutions ritual cleansing done before prayer. Mihrab, Great Mosque of Cordoba, c. Mecca is the city in which the Prophet Muhammad was born, and the home of the most important Islamic site, the Kaaba.

No matter where a mosque is, its mihrab indicates the direction of Mecca or as near that direction as science and geography were able to place it. Minarets take many different forms—from the famous spiral minaret of Samarra, to the tall, pencil minarets of Ottoman Turkey. Not solely functional in nature, the minaret serves as a powerful visual reminder of the presence of Islam.

While not a ritual requirement like the mihrab, a dome does possess significance within the mosque—as a symbolic representation of the vault of heaven. The interior decoration of a dome often emphasizes this symbolism, using intricate geometric, stellate, or vegetal motifs to create breathtaking patterns meant to awe and inspire. In mosques with only a single dome, it is invariably found surmounting the qibla wall, the holiest section of the mosque. Mosque lamp, 14th century, Egypt or Syria, blown glass, enamel, gilding, There are other decorative elements common to most mosques. Another important feature of mosque decoration are hanging lamps, also visible in the photograph of the Sultan Hasan mosque.

Light is an essential feature for mosques, since the first and last daily prayers occur before the sun rises and after the sun sets. Before electricity, mosques were illuminated with oil lamps. Although not a permanent part of a mosque building, lamps, along with other furnishings like carpets, formed a significant—though ephemeral—aspect of mosque architecture.

Mihrab, —55, just after the Ilkhanid period, Madrasa Imami, Isfahan, Iran, polychrome glazed tiles, Most historical mosques are not stand-alone buildings. Many incorporated charitable institutions like soup kitchens, hospitals, and schools. Some mosque patrons also chose to include their own mausoleum as part of their mosque complex.

The endowment of charitable institutions is an important aspect of Islamic culture, due in part to the third pillar of Islam, which calls for Muslims to donate a portion of their income to the poor. The commissioning of a mosque would be seen as a pious act on the part of a ruler or other wealthy patron, and the names of patrons are usually included in the calligraphic decoration of mosques.

Such inscriptions also often praise the piety and generosity of the patron. For instance, the mihrab now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, bears the inscription:. The patronage of mosques was not only a charitable act therefore, but also, like architectural patronage in all cultures, an opportunity for self-promotion. The social services attached the mosques of the Ottoman sultans are some of the most extensive of their type. The complex also includes two mausoleums for Sultan Suleyman and his family members. Since the 7th century, mosques have been built around the globe.

While there are many different types of mosque architecture, three basic forms can be defined. This type spread widely throughout Islamic lands. The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia, is an archetypal example of the hypostyle mosque. The mosque was built in the ninth century by Ziyadat Allah, the third ruler of the Aghlabid dynasty, an offshoot of the Abbasid Empire. It is a large, rectangular stone mosque with a hypostyle supported by columns hall and a large inner sahn courtyard. The three-tiered minaret is in a style known as the Syrian bell-tower, and may have originally been based on the form of ancient Roman lighthouses.

The interior of the mosque features the forest of columns that has come to define the hypostyle type. Sahn and minaret, Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia, c. The mosque was built on a former Byzantine site, and the architects repurposed older materials, such as the columns—a decision that was both practical and a powerful assertion of the Islamic conquest of Byzantine lands. Many early mosques like this one made use of older architectural materials called spolia , in a similarly symbolic way.

Both are carved from teak wood that was imported from Southeast Asia. This prized wood was shipped from Thailand to Baghdad where it was carved, then carried on camel back from Iraq to Tunisia, in a remarkable display of medieval global commerce. The hypostyle plan was used widely in Islamic lands prior to the introduction of the four-iwan plan in the twelfth century see next section.

One of the most famous examples is the Great Mosque of Cordoba, which uses bi-color, two-tier arches that emphasize the almost dizzying optical effect of the hypostyle hall. Just as the hypostyle hall defined much of mosque architecture of the early Islamic period; the 11th century shows the emergence of new form: the four-iwan mosque. An iwan is a vaulted space that opens on one side to a courtyard. The iwan developed in pre-Islamic Iran where it was used in monumental and imperial architecture.

Strongly associated with Persian architecture, the iwan continued to be used in monumental architecture in the Islamic era. Iwan, Ctesiphon, Iraq, c. In 11th century Iran, hypostyle mosques started to be converted into four-iwan mosques, which, as the name indicates, incorporate four iwans in their architectural plan. Plan of the Great Mosque of Isfahan, Iran, showing iwans opening onto the sahn court. The mosque began its life as a hypostyle mosque, but was modified by the Seljuqs of Iran after their conquest of the city of Isfahan in the 11th century.

Like a hypostyle mosque, the layout is arranged around a large open courtyard. However, in the four-iwan mosque, each wall of the courtyard is punctuated with a monumental vaulted hall, the iwan. This mosque type, which became widespread in the 12th century, has maintained its popularity to the present. The Safavid rulers refurbished these walls with new tiles in the 16th century. Though it originated in Iran, the four-iwan plan would become the new plan for mosques all over the Islamic word, used widely from India to Cairo and replacing the hypostyle mosque in many places.

While the four-iwan plan was used for mosques across the Islamic world, the Ottoman Empire was one of the few places in the central Islamic lands where the four-iwan mosque plan did not dominate. The Ottoman Empire was founded in However, it did not become a major force until the 15th century, when Mehmed II conquered Constantinople, the capital of the late Roman Byzantine Empire since the 4th century. Renamed Istanbul, the city straddles the European and Asian continents, and, having been a Christian capital for over a thousand years, had a wholly different cultural and architectural heritage than Iran.

The Ottoman architects were strongly influenced by Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the greatest of all Byzantine churches and one that features a monumental central dome high over its large nave. Sinan experimented with the central plan in a series of mosques in Istanbul, achieving what he considered his masterpiece in the Mosque of Selim II, in Edirne, Turkey. Built for Selim II, son of Suleyman during the golden age of the Ottoman Empire, it is considered the greatest masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. It represents a culmination of years of experimentation with the centrally-planned Ottoman mosque.

Sinan himself boasted that his dome was higher and wider than that of the Hagia Sophia, highlighting the sense of competition with the earlier Byzantine building. In the Selim Mosque, Sinan distilled previous ideas about the central plan into a simple and perfect design. The interior octagonal space was made more spacious by 8 massive piers that pushed back into the walls, and a rhythmic harmony was created through apertures of small and large arches framed by joggled voussoirs, filling the large space with light and color. The three mosque types described above are the most common, and most historically significant, in the Islamic world.

Despite their common features, such as mihrabs and minarets, one can see that diverse regional styles account for dramatic differences in the colors, materials, and the overall decoration of mosques. The bright blue and white tiled mihrabs of fourteenth-century Iran are a world apart from the muted colors and stone inlay of an Egyptian mihrab of the same century. Even more regional differences appear when one looks beyond the central Islamic lands to the architecture of Muslims living in places like China, Africa, and Indonesia, where local materials and regional traditions, sometimes with little influence from the architectural heritage of the central Islamic lands, influenced mosque architecture.

The minaret at Kudus, Indonesia, for instance, reflects the influence of Hindu architecture. The Djingarey Berre Mosque of Timbuktu, in Mali, similarly responds to the pre-Islamic traditions of its own region, utilizing a unique West African style and using earth as the primary building material. An early mosque in Xian, China, uses a very clearly Chinese style of architecture below, left , but also incorporates more typical Islamic elements, like squinches and a distinctly Islamic-style arched mihrab below, right.

In Pakistan, the King Faisal Mosque, blends contemporary architecture with visual references to traditional forms. The building is strikingly modern, yet plays with the form of the tent structures of Bedouin nomads. This large mosque also incorporates Ottoman-influenced pencil-thin minarets into its modern design.

So to make sense of it, we first have to first break it down into parts. One way is by medium—say, ceramics or architecture—but this method of categorization would entail looking at works that span three continents. Geography is another means of organization, but modern political boundaries rarely match the borders of past Islamic states. A common solution is to consider instead, the historical caliphates the states ruled by those who claimed legitimate Islamic rule or dynasties. Though these distinctions are helpful, it is important to bear in mind that these are not discrete groups that produced one particular style of artwork.

Artists throughout the centuries have been affected by the exchange of goods and ideas and have been influenced by one another. Four leaders, known as the Rightly Guided Caliphs, continued the spread of Islam immediately following the death of the Prophet. During this period, Damascus became the capital and the empire expanded West and East.

The first years following the death of Muhammad were, of course, formative for the religion and its artwork. The immediate needs of the religion included places to worship mosques and holy books Korans to convey the word of God. So, naturally, many of the first artistic projects included ornamented mosques where the faithful could gather and Korans with beautiful calligraphy.

Because Islam was still a very new religion, it had no artistic vocabulary of its own, and its earliest work was heavily influenced by older styles in the region. Chief among these sources were the Coptic tradition of present-day Egypt and Syria, with its scrolling vines and geometric motifs, Sassanian metalwork and crafts from what is now Iraq with their rhythmic, sometimes abstracted qualities, and naturalistic Byzantine mosaics depicting animals and plants.

These elements can be seen in the earliest significant work from the Umayyad period, the most important of which is the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. This stunning monument incorporates Coptic, Sassanian, and Byzantine elements in its decorative program and remains a masterpiece of Islamic architecture to this day. While the Dome of the Rock is considered an influential work, it bears little resemblance to the multitude of mosques created throughout the rest of the caliphate.

It is important to point out that the Dome of the Rock is not a mosque. A more common plan, based on the house of the Prophet, was used for the vast majority of mosques throughout the Arab peninsula and the Maghreb. The Abbasid revolution in the mid-eighth century ended the Umayyad dynasty, resulted in the massacre of the Umayyad caliphs a single caliph escaped to Spain, prolonging Umayyad work after dynasty and established the Abbasid dynasty in The new caliphate shifted its attention eastward and established cultural and commercial capitals at Baghdad and Samarra.

The Umayyad dynasty produced little of what we would consider decorative arts like pottery, glass, metalwork , but under the Abbasid dynasty production of decorative stone, wood and ceramic objects flourished. Artisans in Samarra developed a new method for carving surfaces that allowed for curved, vegetal forms called arabesques which became widely adopted. There were also developments in ceramic decoration. The use of luster painting which gives ceramic ware a metallic sheen became popular in surrounding regions and was extensively used on tile for centuries.

Overall, the Abbasid epoch was an important transitional period that disseminated styles and techniques to distant Islamic lands. Bowl, 9th century, Susa, Iran, Earthenware, metal lustre overglaze decoration, opaque glaze. The Abbasid empire weakened with the establishment and growing power of semi-autonomous dynasties throughout the region, until Baghdad was finally overthrown in This dissolution signified not only the end of a dynasty, but marked the last time that the Arab-Muslim empire would be united as one entity.

One of the most iconic images of the Middle East is undoubtedly the Dome of the Rock shimmering in the setting sun of Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock is one of the earliest surviving buildings from the Islamic world. This remarkable building is not a mosque, as is commonly assumed and scholars still debate its original function and meaning. The first Arab armies who emerged from the Arabian peninsula were focused on conquering and establishing an empire—not building. Thus, the Dome of the Rock was one of the first Islamic buildings ever constructed. When Abd al-Malik began construction on the Dome of the Rock, he did not have control of the Kaaba, the holiest shrine in Islam, which is located in Mecca.

The Dome is located on the Haram al-Sharif, an enormous open-air platform that now houses Al-Aqsa mosque, madrasas and several other religious buildings. The Temple Mount was abandoned in Late Antiquity. Today, Muslims believe that the Rock commemorates the night journey of Muhammad. One night the Angel Gabriel came to Muhammad while he slept near the Kaaba in Mecca and took him to al-Masjid al-Aqsa the farthest mosque in Jerusalem.

From the Rock, Muhammad journeyed to heaven, where he met other prophets, such as Moses and Christ, witnessed paradise and hell and finally saw God enthroned and circumambulated by angels. The Rock is enclosed by two ambulatories in this case the aisles that circle the rock and an octagonal exterior wall. The central colonnade row of columns was composed of four piers and twelve columns supporting a rounded drum that transitions into the two-layered dome more than 20 meters in diameter.

The colonnades are clad in marble on their lower registers, and their upper registers are adorned with exceptional mosaics. The ethereal interior atmosphere is a result of light that pours in from grilled windows located in the drum and exterior walls. Golden mosaics depicting jewels shimmer in this glittering light. Byzantine and Sassanian crowns in the midst of vegetal motifs are also visible. To the East, the old Sasanian Empire of Persia imploded under pressure from the Arabs, but nevertheless provided winged crown motifs that can be found in the Dome of the Rock. Thus, the use of mosaics reflects an artistic tie to the world of Late Antiquity.

Late Antiquity is a period from about , when the Classical world dissolves and the Medieval period emerges. Mosaic detail from the Dome of the Rock public domain. The mosaics in the Dome of the Rock contain no human figures or animals. While Islam does not prohibit the use of figurative art per se, it seems that in religious buildings, this proscription was upheld. Instead, we see vegetative scrolls and motifs, as well as vessels and winged crowns, which were worn by Sasanian kings. Thus, the iconography of the Dome of the Rock also includes the other major pre-Islamic civilization of the region, the Sasanian Empire, which the Arab armies had defeated.

The building enclosing the Rock also seems to take its form from the imperial mausolea the burial places of Roman emperors, such as Augustus or Hadrian. Its circular form and Dome also reference the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock have domes that are almost identical in size; this suggests that the elevated position of the Dome of the Rock and the comparable size of its dome was a way that Muslims in the late 8th century proclaimed the superiority of their newly formed faith over Christians.

The inscription also refers to Mary and Christ and proclaim that Christ was not divine but a prophet. Thus the inscription also proclaims some of the core values of the newly formed religion of Islam. Below the Rock is a small chamber, whose purpose is not fully understood even to this day. Known locally as Mezquita-Catedral, the Great Mosque of Cordoba is one of the oldest structures still standing from the time Muslims ruled Al-Andalus Muslim Iberia including most of Spain, Portugal, and a small section of Southern France in the late 8th century.

Cordoba is a two hour train ride south of Madrid, and draws visitors from all over the world. The buildings on this site are as complex as the extraordinarily rich history they illustrate. Historians believe that there had first been a temple to the Roman god, Janus, on this site. The temple was converted into a church by invading Visigoths who seized Corboba in Next, the church was converted into a mosque and then completely rebuilt by the descendants of the exiled Umayyads—the first Islamic dynasty who had originally ruled from their capital Damascus in present-day Syria from until Once there, he established control over almost all of the Iberian Peninsula and attempted to recreate the grandeur of Damascus in his new capital, Cordoba.

He sponsored elaborate building programs, promoted agriculture, and even imported fruit trees and other plants from his former home. Orange trees still stand in the courtyard of the Mosque of Cordoba, a beautiful, if bittersweet reminder of the Umayyad exile. Hypostyle hall, Great Mosque at Cordoba, Spain, begun and enlarged during the 9th and 10th centuries.

The building itself was expanded over two hundred years. It is comprised of a large hypostyle prayer hall hypostyle means, filled with columns , a courtyard with a fountain in the middle, an orange grove, a covered walkway circling the courtyard, and a minaret a tower used to call the faithful to prayer that is now encased in a squared, tapered bell tower.

The expansive prayer hall seems magnified by its repeated geometry. It is built with recycled ancient Roman columns from which sprout a striking combination of two-tiered, symmetrical arches, formed of stone and red brick. The focal point in the prayer hall is the famous horseshoe arched mihrab or prayer niche.

A mihrab is used in a mosque to identify the wall that faces Mecca—the birth place of Islam in what is now Saudi Arabia. This is practical as Muslims face toward Mecca during their daily prayers. The mihrab in the Great Mosque of Cordoba is framed by an exquisitely decorated arch behind which is an unusually large space, the size of a small room. Gold tesserae small pieces of glass with gold and color backing create a dazzling combination of dark blues, reddish browns, yellows and golds that form intricate calligraphic bands and vegetal motifs that adorn the arch.

The horseshoe-style arch was common in the architecture of the Visigoths, the people that ruled this area after the Roman empire collapsed and before the Umayyads arrived. The horseshoe arch eventually spread across North Africa from Morocco to Egypt and is an easily identified characteristic of Western Islamic architecture though there are some early examples in the East as well. Above the mihrab, is an equally dazzling dome. It is built of crisscrossing ribs that create pointed arches all lavishly covered with gold mosaic in a radial pattern.

This astonishing building technique anticipates later Gothic rib vaulting, though on a more modest scale. Sahn courtyard and minaret, Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia c. Seventh-century North Africa was not the easiest place to establish a new city. It required battling Byzantines; convincing Berbers, the indigenous people of North Africa, to accept centralized Muslim rule; and persuading Middle Eastern merchants to move to North Africa.

A Friday Mosque is used for communal prayers on the Muslim holy day, Friday. The mosque was a critical addition, communicating that Kairouan would become a cosmopolitan metropolis under strong Muslim control, an important distinction at this time and place. Rendering of the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia. Known as the Great Mosque of Kairouan, it is an early example of a hypostyle mosque that also reflects how pre-Islamic and eastern Islamic art and motifs were incorporated into the religious architecture of Islamic North Africa.

The aesthetics signified the Great Mosque and Kairouan, and, thus, its patrons, were just as important as the religious structures, cities, and rulers of other empires in this region, and that Kairouan was part of the burgeoning Islamic empire. However, the mosque we see today is essentially ninth century. The Aghlabids C.

In , Prince Ziyadat Allah I tore down most of the earlier mudbrick structure and rebuilt it in more permanent stone, brick, and wood. The prayer hall or sanctuary is supported by rows of columns and there is an open courtyard, that are characteristic of a hypostyle plan. In the late ninth century, another Aghlabid ruler embellished the courtyard entrance to the prayer space and added a dome over the central arches and portal.

The dome emphasizes the placement of the mihrab, or prayer niche below , which is on the same central axis and also under a cupola to signify its importance. Mihrab left and minbar right , Interior view of the dome, Great Mosque of Kairouan. The dome is an architectural element borrowed from Roman and Byzantine architecture. The small windows in the drum of the dome above the mihrab space let natural light into what was an otherwise dim interior. Rays fall around the most significant area of the mosque, the mihrab.

The drum rests on squinches, small arches decorated with shell over rosette designs similar to examples in Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad Islamic art. The stone dome is constructed of twenty four ribs that each have a small corbel at their base, so the dome looks like a cut cantaloupe, according to the architectural historian K. Other architectural elements link the Great Mosque of Kairouan with earlier and contemporary Islamic religious structures and pre-Islamic buildings. They also show the joint religious and secular importance of the Great Mosque of Kairouan.

Wider aisles leading to the mihrab and along the qibla wall give it a T-plan. The sanctuary roof and courtyard porticos are supported by repurposed Roman and Byzantine columns and capitals. The lower portion of the mihrab is decorated with openwork marble panels in floral and geometric vine designs. Though the excessively decorated mihrab is unique, the panels are from the Syrian area. Around the mihrab are lustre tiles from Iraq. They also feature stylized floral patterns like Byzantine and eastern Islamic examples. Since it was used for Friday prayer, the mosque has a ninth-century minbar, a narrow wooden pulpit where the weekly sermon was delivered.

It is said to be the oldest surviving wooden minbar. Like Christian pulpits, the minbar made the prayer leader more visible and audible. The side of the minbar closest to the mihrab is composed of elaborately carved latticework with vegetal, floral, and geometric designs evocative of those used in Byzantine and Umayyad architecture. The minaret dates from the early ninth century, or at least its lower portion does. Perhaps inspired by Roman lighthouses, the massive square Kairouan minaret is about thirty two meters tall, over one hundred feet, making it one of the highest structures around.

The mosque continued to be modified after the Aghlabids, showing that it remained religiously and socially significant even as Kairouan fell into decline. The maqsura is assembled from cutwork wooden screens topped with bands of carved abstracted vegetal motifs set into geometric frames, kufic-style script inscriptions, and merlons, which look like the crenellations a top a fortress wall.

Maqsuras are said to indicate political instability in a society.

Amazing Ways the Ancient Greeks Influence Our Lives Today!

They remove a ruler from the rest of the worshippers. So, the enclosure, along with its inscription, protected the lives and affirmed the status of persons allowed inside. In the thirteenth century, the Hafsids gave the mosque a more fortified look when they added buttresses to support falling exterior walls, a practice continued in later centuries. In , Caliph al-Mustansir restored the courtyard and added monumental portals, such as Bab al-Ma on the east and the domed Bab Lalla Rejana on the west.

Additional gates were constructed in later centuries. Carved stone panels inside the mosque and on the exterior acted like billboards advertising which patron was responsible for construction and restoration. The Great Mosque was literally and figuratively at the center of Kairouan activity, growth, and prestige. By the mid-tenth century, Kairouan became a thriving settlement with marketplaces, agriculture imported from surrounding towns, cisterns supplying water, and textile and ceramic manufacturing areas.

It was a political capital, a pilgrimage city, and intellectual center, particularly for the Maliki school of Sunni Islam and the sciences. As a Friday Mosque, it was one of if not the largest buildings in town. The Great Mosque of Kairouan was a public structure, set along roads that served a city with a vibrant commercial, educational, and religious life. As such, it assumed the important function of representing a cosmopolitan and urbane Kairouan, one of the first cities organized under Muslim rule in North Africa. Even today, the Great Mosque of Kairouan reflects the time and place in which it was built.

Founded in , Kairouan flourished under the Aghlabid dynasty in the 9th century. Its rich architectural heritage includes the Great Mosque, with its marble and porphyry columns, and the 9th-century Mosque of the Three Gates. For many, the Muslim world in the medieval period means the crusades. While this era was marked, in part, by military struggle, it is also overwhelmingly a period of peaceable exchanges of goods and ideas between West and East. Both the Christian and Islamic civilizations underwent great transformations and internal struggles during these years.

In the Islamic world, dynasties fractured and began to develop distinctive styles of art. For the first time, disparate Islamic states existed at the same time. And although the Abbasid caliphate did not fully dissolve until , other dynasties began to form, even before its end. In the tenth century, the Fatimid dynasty emerged and posed a threat to the rule of the Abbasids. At the height of their power, the Fatimids claimed lands from present-day Algeria to Syria.

They conquered Egypt in and founded the city of Cairo as their capital. The Fatimid rulers expanded the power of the caliph and emphasized the importance of palace architecture. Practically all men wore a loincloth. The fabric passed between the legs, adjusted with a belt, and almost certainly, was decorated with metal.

It was worn by all men in society, as well as a standalone garment for women during more athletic activities, such as bull-leaping. In addition to Cretan styles, Cycladic clothing was worn as pants across the continent. A triangular front released the top of the thighs. One could say it was clothing of an athletic population, because of this and the fact that the chest always was naked. It was sometimes covered with a cask, probably ritualistically. However, long clothing was worn for protection against bad weather and eventually a coat of wool was used by the Greeks.

Men had long hair flowing to the shoulders; however several types of headgear were usual, types of bonnets and turbans , probably of skin. Shoes were boots of skin, probably of chamois , and were used only to leave the house, where one went barefoot, just as in the sanctuaries and the palaces. People studying this matter have noticed the outdoor staircases are worn down considerably, interior ones hardly at all. It's known that later, entering a house - this habit already was in use in Crete. The boots had a slightly raised end, thus indicating an Anatolian origin, similar to those found on the frescoes of Etruria.

In the day it was protection from rain and cold, and at night peasant Israelites could wrap themselves in this garment for warmth [24] [25] see Deuteronomy The front of the simla also could be arranged in wide folds see Exodus and all kinds of products could be carried in it [24] [25] See 2Kings , Exodus Every respectable man generally wore the simla over the kuttoneth See Isaiah , but since the simla hindered work, it was either left home or removed when working. From this simple item of the common people developed the richly ornamented mantle of the well-off, which reached from the neck to the knees and had short sleeves.

The me'il was a costly wrap See 1Samuel , 1Samuel , 1Samuel , 1Samuel and, according to the description of the priest's me'il , was similar to the sleeveless abaya Exodus Tefillin are boxes containing biblical verses that are attached to the forehead and arm by leather straps. Depictions show some Hebrews and Syrians bareheaded or wearing merely a band to hold the hair together. Men and women of the upper classes wore a kind of turban , cloth wound about the head.

The shape varied greatly. Sandals na'alayim of leather were worn to protect the feet from burning sand and dampness. A woman's garments mostly corresponded to those of men: they wore simla and kuttoneth.

Weddings and the Return to Life in the Book of Revelation

Women's garments were probably longer compare Nahum , Jeremiah , Jeremiah , Isaiah , had sleeves 2Samuel , presumably were brighter colors and more ornamented, and may also have been of finer material. Israelite women used to wear veils in public, which distinguished them from women in pagan ancient societies. Ancient Greece is famous for its philosophy, art, literature, and politics. As a result, classical period Greek style in dress often has been revived when later societies wished to evoke some revered aspect of ancient Greek civilization, such as democratic government. A Greek style in dress became fashionable in France shortly after the French Revolution — , because the style was thought to express the democratic ideals for which that revolution was fought, no matter how incorrect the understanding of the historical reality was.

Clothing reformers later in the 19th century CE admired ancient Greek dress because they thought it represented timeless beauty, the opposite of complicated and rapidly changing fashions of their time, as well as the more practical reasoning that Grecian-style dresses required far less cloth than those of the Rococo period. Clothing in ancient Greece primarily consisted of the chiton , peplos , himation , and chlamys. While no clothes have survived from this period, descriptions exist from contemporary accounts and artistic depiction.

Clothes were mainly homemade, and often served many purposes such as bedding. Despite popular imagination and media depictions of all-white clothing, elaborate design and bright colors were favored. Ancient Greek clothing consisted of lengths of linen or wool fabric, which generally was rectangular. The inner tunic was a peplos or chiton. The peplos was a worn by women. It was usually a heavier woollen garment, more distinctively Greek, with its shoulder clasps.

The upper part of the peplos was folded down to the waist to form an apoptygma. The chiton was a simple tunic garment of lighter linen, worn by both genders and all ages. Men's chitons hung to the knees, whereas women's chitons fell to their ankles. Often the chiton is shown as pleated. Either garment could be pulled up under the belt to blouse the fabric: kolpos. A strophion was an undergarment sometimes worn by women around the mid-portion of the body, and a shawl epiblema could be draped over the tunic.

Women dressed similarly in most areas of ancient Greece although in some regions, they also wore a loose veil as well at public events and market. The chlamys was made from a seamless rectangle of woolen material worn by men as a cloak; it was about the size of a blanket, usually bordered.

The chlamys was typical Greek military attire from the 5th to 3rd century BCE. As worn by soldiers, it could be wrapped around the arm and used as a light shield in combat. The basic outer garment during winter was the himation , a larger cloak worn over the peplos or chlamys. The himation has been most influential perhaps on later fashion. During Classical times in Greece, male nudity received a religious sanction following profound changes in the culture.

After that time, male athletes participated in ritualized athletic competitions such as the classical version of the ancient Olympic Games , in the nude as women became barred from the competition except as the owners of racing chariots. Their ancient events were discontinued, one of which a footrace for women had been the sole original competition. Myths relate that after this prohibition, a woman was discovered to have won the competition while wearing the clothing of a man—instituting the policy of nudity among the competitors that prevented such embarrassment again.

Although aspects of Roman clothing have had an enormous appeal to the Western imagination, the dress and customs of the Etruscan civilization that inhabited Italy before the Romans are less well imitated see the adjacent image , but the resemblance in their clothing may be noted. At its maximum extent during the foundation period of Rome and the Roman kingdom, it flourished in three confederacies of cities: of Etruria, of the Po valley with the eastern Alps, and of Latium and Campania.

Rome was sited in Etruscan territory. In ancient Rome, boys after the age of sixteen had their clothes burned as a sign of growing up. Probably the most significant item in the ancient Roman wardrobe was the toga , a one-piece woolen garment that draped loosely around the shoulders and down the body. Togas could be wrapped in different ways, and they became larger and more voluminous over the centuries. Some innovations were purely fashionable. Because it was not easy to wear a toga without tripping over it or trailing drapery, some variations in wrapping served a practical function.

Other styles were required, for instance, for covering the head during ceremonies. Historians believe that originally the toga was worn by all Romans during the combined centuries of the Roman monarchy and its successor, the Roman Republic. At this time it is thought that the toga was worn without undergarments. Women wore an outer garment known as a stola , which was a long pleated dress similar to the Greek chitons. Although togas are now thought of as the only clothing worn in ancient Italy, in fact, many other styles of clothing were worn and also are familiar in images seen in artwork from the period.

Garments could be quite specialized, for instance, for warfare, specific occupations, or for sports. In ancient Rome women athletes wore leather briefs and brassiere for maximum coverage but the ability to compete. Girls and boys under the age of puberty sometimes wore a special kind of toga with a reddish-purple band on the lower edge, called the toga praetexta. This toga also was worn by magistrates and high priests as an indication of their status.

The toga candida , an especially whitened toga, was worn by political candidates. Prostitutes wore the toga muliebris , rather than the tunics worn by most women. The toga pulla was dark-colored and worn for mourning, while the toga purpurea , of purple-dyed wool, was worn in times of triumph and by the Roman emperor. After the transition of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire in c.

Indian culture and heritage

Women, slaves, foreigners, and others who were not citizens of Rome wore tunics and were forbidden from wearing the toga. By the same token, Roman citizens were required to wear the toga when conducting official business. Over time, the toga evolved from a national to a ceremonial costume. Different types of togas indicated age, profession, and social rank. Roman writer Seneca criticized men who wore their togas too loosely or carelessly. He also criticized men who wore what were considered feminine or outrageous styles, including togas that were slightly transparent.

The late toga of adult citizens, the toga virilis, was made of plain white wool and worn after the age of fourteen. A woman convicted of adultery might be forced to wear a toga as a badge of shame and curiously, as a symbol of the loss of her female identity. The ancient Romans were aware that their clothing differed from that of other peoples. In particular, they noted the long trousers worn by people they considered barbarians from the north, including the Germanic Franks and Goths. The figures depicted on ancient Roman armored breastplates often include barbarian warriors in shirts and trousers.

Mosaic of ancient women dressed for sports — Roman villa near Piazza Armerina — Sicily. Roman clothing took on symbolic meaning for later generations. Roman armour, particularly the muscle cuirass , has symbolized amazing power. In Europe during the Renaissance 15th and 16th centuries CE , painters and sculptors sometimes depicted rulers wearing pseudo-Roman military attire, including the cuirass, military cloak, and sandals.

Later, during the French Revolution , an effort was made to dress officials in uniforms based on the Roman toga, to symbolize the importance of citizenship to a republic. Adopted by the rank and file revolutionaries, the 18th-century CE liberty cap , a brimless, limp cap fitting snugly around the head, was based on a bonnet worn by freed slaves in ancient Rome, the Phrygian cap. The modern Western bride also has inherited elements from ancient Roman wedding attire, such as the bridal veil and the wedding ring. Evidence of ancient Indian clothing can be found in figurines, rock cut sculptures, cave paintings, and human art forms found in temples and monuments.

These sculptures show human figures wearing clothes wrapped around the body, such as sari , turbans and dhoti. Upper classes of the society wore fine muslin and imported silk fabrics while the common classes wore locally made fabrics such as cotton, flax, wool, linen, and leather. Recent analysis of Harappan silk fibers in beads have shown that silk was made by the process of reeling, an art known only to China until the early centuries CE.

The only evidence found for clothing is from iconography and some unearthed Harappan figurines which are usually unclothed. These little depictions show that usually men wore a long cloth wrapped over their waist and fastened it at the back just like a close clinging dhoti. Turbans were worn, and a long robe over the left shoulder was worn by those of high social rank. The normal attire of the women at that time was a very scanty skirt up to knee length leaving the waist bare, and cotton head dresses.

Jewellery was very popular, and men wore their hair in various styles with trimmed beards. Vedic period c. A lower garment called paridhana was pleated in front and tied with a belt mekhala , and worn with a shawl-like upper garment called uttariya. Orthodox males and females usually wore the uttariya by throwing it over the left shoulder only, in the style called upavita. In cold weather a garment called pravara was worn. Sometimes the poor people wore the lower garment as a loincloth, while the rich wore foot-length pravara to show their prestige.

The dupatta was worn with ghaghara an ankle-length skirt. Vedic men wore lungi a garment like a sarong and dhoti , a single cloth wrapped around the waist and legs which is still traditionally worn by men in villages. Gold jewellery remained very popular. Evidence of clothing worn during the Maurya Empire — BCE comes from statues of yakshini , the female epitome of fertility.

Silk history

The most common attire of the people at that time was a lower garment called antariya , generally made of cotton, linen or muslin and decorated with gems, and fastened in a looped knot at the centre of the waist. A cloth was covered in lehenga style around the hips to form a tubular skirt. Another embellished long piece of cloth, hanging at the front and wrapped around the waist, was called patka. Mauryan Empire ladies often wore an embroidered fabric waistband with drum headed knots at the ends.

As an upper garment, people's main garb was uttariya , a long scarf worn in several ways. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Clothing in ancient Egypt. This section has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.