Islam: Faith, Art, Culture
 - Manuscripts of the Chester Beatty Library

By Dr Elaine Wright;  price €20.00

 

'Islam: Faith, Art, Culture' presents an authoritative introduction to the Islamic religion, illustrated with works from one of the finest and most highly acclaimed collections of Islamic manuscripts in existence, that of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.  It covers both orthodox faith and popular piety, including the historical context of the divine revelation to the Prophet Muhammad, the contents of the Qur’an, Islamic calligraphy, the practice of the faith, the many prophets, and other figures revered by Muslims, and Islamic mysticism.


The reader is introduced to these aspects of the faith through the rich heritage of the Islamic book, and as such this volume presents a feast of matchless illustration and illumination, including magnificent examples of calligraphy, the art most highly revered in Islam.


The manuscripts (hand-written books) chosen to illustrate the text span the period from the ninth century to the early twentieth, although most were produced between about the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.  They derive primarily from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran and India, but also include examples from Spain, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and China.  Featured are some of the greatest documents of Islamic art and culture, including the splendid Qur’an copied and illuminated in Baghdad in the year 1001 by Ibn al-Bawwab, one of the three greatest calligraphers of the medieval Islamic world, and the lavishly decorated Qur’an produced in Shiraz in the mid-sixteenth century and also both copied and illuminated by a single individual, Ruzbihan Muhammad al-Tab’I al-Shirazi.

 

The manuscripts, and the concepts they deal with, are as relevant today as they were when they were produced, and as such they serve as ideal illustrations for this general introduction to Islam.  This exquisite introduction to the faith, art and culture of Islam is written by the art historian Elaine Wright, curator of the Islamic Collections at the Chester Beatty Library.