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Patterns of Stylistic Changes in Islamic Architecture: Local Traditions Versus Migrating Artists

Michael Meinecke
Copyright Date: 1996
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Patterns of Stylistic Changes in Islamic Architecture
    Book Description:

    Drawing upon a lifetime's knowledge, Patterns of Stylistic Change in Islamic Architecture presents Michael Meinecke's unique view of the evolution and development of Islamic architecture. Departing from conventional method which groups buildings and monuments according to dynasties and defines national characteristics based on the ethnic origins of Arabic, Persian, or Turkish patrons, Meinecke emphasizes the similarities which resulted from interrelations among neighboring or far-away areas. He argues that transformations in the development of Islamic architecture can be explained by the movements of skilled craftsmen who traveled extensively in their search for challenging work, allowing for their influence to be felt across a broad region. Meinecke's unique approach to Islamic architecture will no doubt inspire others to emulate his approach in studying other regions or areas. Few, however, will be able to attain the consummate mastery of the subject which enlivens these essays.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6319-3
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xvii-xx)

    In these essays, Michael Meinecke draws upon his remarkably detailed knowledge of Islamic architecture to investigate its evolution. Most conventional analysis has usually focused on the linear development of regional building traditions arranged either by dynasties or by typological categories. Many are often limited to monuments within the boundaries of a modern nation-state. Although the existence of broad regional traditions is undeniable, architectural development in all but the largest centers is frequently episodic and sometimes manifests clear shifts from period to period. Meinecke’s essays offer a reconsideration of various features which have remained anomalous with traditional lines of investigation.


  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    The architecture of the Islamic world, systematically researched for about one century, is usually investigated along several well-established lines. In reference works the buildings are often described in a chronological sequence, and grouped according to political dynasties, resulting in a positivistic presentation of formal evolution. Another approach is based on subdivisions according to the various functions of buildings, which permits the definition of typological changes but obscures stylistic developments. In most cases, research on Islamic architecture tends to center on national characteristics, almost inevitably emerging from the classification according to the ethnic origins of Arabic, Persian, or Turkish patrons. The...

  8. CHAPTER 1 Forced Labor in Early Islamic Architecture: The Case of ar-Raqqa/ar-Rāfiqa on the Euphrates
    (pp. 5-30)

    The first case study in this book is devoted to the early Islamic city of ar-Raqqa (fig. 1) on the Middle Euphrates, the traditional capital of the Diyar Mudar of the Jazira, the so-called Island between the Euphrates and the Tigris, now the center of a governorate of northern Syria. Though of outstanding political importance in the early centuries of Islam, ar-Raqqa was outlasted and overshadowed by the two urban antipodes of the region, Aleppo, the north Syrian capital over 170 km farther west, and Mosul, the north Mesopotamian capital c. 380 km farther northeast, both attracting much scholarly attention....

  9. CHAPTER 2 Buṣrā: From the Provincia Arabia to the Darb al-Ḥajj
    (pp. 31-54)

    This chapter deals with the Islamic fabric of a famous classical site, Busrā, in Syria about 115 km south of Damascus (fig. 8), important in the first centuries of the Christian Era as capital of the Roman Provincia Arabia.¹ Today a rather remote, underdeveloped provincial town, Busra is famous for its numerous Nabatean, Roman, and Early Christian monuments, many of which have stately grandeur (fig. 8, nos. 1— 24).² Often overlooked, an impressive corpus of Islamic buildings survives in the shadow of these earlier monuments (nos. 25—33). Comprising about ten historic structures, they are testimony to the Islamization of...

  10. CHAPTER 3 Hasankeyf/Ḥiṣn Kaifā on the Tigris: A Regional Center on the Crossroad of Foreign Influences
    (pp. 55-88)

    This chapter is devoted to Hasankeyf (fig. 14), the former Hisn Kaifa, now a small town of mostly Kurdish-speaking inhabitants in one of the most remote corners of southeastern Anatolia near the area where the Tigris reaches the border of Syria and continues into Iraq toward Mosul. The historic importance of this place is based on the strategic position of a fortified castle on a commanding rock plateau bordering the Tigris, controlling the major caravan route alongside the river from Diyarbakir, the historic city of Āmid, c. 110 km farther west, to the north Mesopotamian center of Mosul, c. 220...

  11. CHAPTER 4 Mamluk Architecture and the Ottoman Empire: The Formation of New Architectural Styles
    (pp. 89-116)

    The discussion in this chapter centers on the phenomenon of the emergence of a new style of architecture in the Ottoman empire, the most recent climax of Islamic architecture from an international perspective. Ottoman architecture is almost inevitably associated in our memories with towering mosque constructions on the seven hills of Istanbul, gracing the townscape with their ascending domes and slender pairs of minarets, and characterized on the interior by sumptuous multicolored tile revetments. That these architectural masterpieces originate mostly from the golden age of the Ottoman empire in the tenth/sixteenth century is, by now, common knowledge, and names like...

  12. Plates
    (pp. 117-154)
  13. Appendix
    (pp. 155-156)
  14. Index
    (pp. 157-162)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 163-163)