This three part series is intended to showcase the glorious heritage left to us by Islamic artists and architects – and explain the close connection between the architectural splendor and the religious message of Islam. Combining travelogue with compelling story-telling, the program is highly accessible to a broad audience. THE GLORIES OF ISLAMIC ART is presented by Professor Akbar Ahmed, who is at the forefront of attempts to find trust and shared values between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
The Glories of Islamic Art, Part One: The Umayyads and Their Capital at Damascus
The first program in the series looks at the achievements of the first Islamic dynasty, the Umayyads, who established their capital at Damascus. Their regime spread throughout greater Syria and they left a rich architectural heritage. This includes two of the great surviving Islamic buildings, the Great Mosque of Damascus and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The program emphasizes how the early Islamic builders and architects used ideas and materials inherited from their Byzantine predecessors – for instance columns and capitals are clearly “borrowed” from earlier buildings and earlier ages. In just the same way, Islam inherited a strong Christian tradition in the Middle East and adapted Christian tenets and beliefs within their new faith.
The Glories of Islamic Art, Part Two: Two Islamic Regimes In Cairo
This episode moves on to Cairo, the cockpit of the early Islamic struggles between Sunni and Shi’a faiths. Cairo displays the glories of two of the great Islamic regimes – the Shi’ite Fatimids who swept in from the North African desert – and the Mamluks, slave soldiers who overthrew their masters to set up their own Sunni dynasty. Both have left behind impressive evidence of their strength.
The Glories of Islamic Art, Part Three: The Ottomans and Their Capital at Istanbul
The final program of the three deals with the last great Islamic dynasty, the Ottomans, and their great capital at Istanbul. The Ottomans continued the theme of borrowing from, or adapting, the work of their Byzantine predecessors. The two dominating buildings of historic Istanbul are the Blue Mosque and Haghia Sophia. The latter is a converted Christian cathedral, still containing the images of Jesus and Mary alongside the motifs of the early caliphs.
The three parts of THE GLORIES OF ISLAMIC ART are also available individually for $195.00. Please call (206) 322-0882 ext.202 to order or send an email to [email protected]