Please write a “discussion: focus on calligraphy, painting and carpets ” for the

Please write a “discussion: focus on calligraphy, painting and carpets ” for the

Please write a “discussion: focus on calligraphy, painting and carpets ” for the HA -126 Islamic Art and Civilization online class. I will post some examples at the bottom too. The discussion has to be more than 600 words.
Discussion Question: focus on Islamic art in sub-Saharan Africa
Islamic art has well-established forms and styles in what is commonly called North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt). Based on what you’ve learned in this unit, what are the major features of sub-Saharan Islamic art and architecture? Can you speculate about the reason for the differences in style and appearance from North African visual culture?
What to do:
1. Listen to the VoiceThread presentations about the historical contexts of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa and selected examples examples of art and architecture.
2. Read the short essays and watch the videos in the Resources folder (these are links to websites and YouTube videos rather than PDF files).
VoiceThread :
Resources folder :
Trade and the spread of islam in africa (An essay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History)
the spread of islam in ancient africa (An essay from the Ancient History Encyclopedia)
islam in the mali empire(An essay from the Ancient History Encyclopedia)
islamic art in west africa (An article from the Encyclopedia Britannica about the influence of Islam in West African art, primarily architecture.)
mosque architecture in west africa (An article about mosque architecture in West Africa.)

West African Mosque Architecture – A Brief Introduction

an introduction to the great mosque in djenne, mail (A short video on YouTube about the issues facing neighborhood inhabitants near the Great Mosque in Djenne, Mali.)

the annual festival at the great mosque in djenne, mali (A brief video about the annual festival that accompanies the “re-clothing” of the Great Mosque in Djenne, Mali every year.)

Example :
Similar to what we have already mastered when analyzing Islamic art in Southeast Asia, to better understand the specifics of the Islamic art in Sub-Saharan Africa, we need to analyze the geographic and historic component of how Islam was spreading from the Arabic lands to this area of Africa, and how the already established cultures and religions of Sub-Saharan Africa was integrated or reconciled with the new religion.
As North Africa was already conquered by Muslims during the seventh century, Islam continued to spread to West Africa through its first wave via merchants, traders, scholars, and missionaries, and then continued to spread across and around the Sahara Desert. At the same time, the second wave was coming through Egypt, going through the Sudan region below the Sahara Desert. And finally, the third wave of spread of Islam was by Arabic traders crossing the Red Sea from the Arabic peninsula to the Swahili coast. However, unlike the initial spread of Islam to North Africa that was created mostly through military force during the Umayyad dynasty, the spread of Islam to Sub-Saharan Africa was mostly peaceful and gradual.
Islam was first adopted by ruling African rulers and members of the elites in the cities of kingdoms like Mali or Songhai, who understood the potential benefits especially when it comes to trade and power, which later resulted in the rest of the population to follow the same example, or simply converting to Islam to avoid being sold to slavery. The population in the rural areas remained mostly unaffected by the new religion until much later. However, no matter where the Islam was adopted, indigenous beliefs and rituals continued to be practiced or were even blended with the new religion which is one of the main characteristics of Sub-Saharan Islam in Africa.
As African rulers understood how indigenous religions were important to the people, they did not completely dismiss the indigenous religious practices and beliefs, which cause them to blend into a locally adapted Islam. Ancestors continued to be worshipped and rituals like masquerading still performed, and existing figural African sculptural art of pre-Islamic age, especially in Dogan region in Mali, continued to be created and is still something African art in general is known for. And even though sculptural art is typically not what we are used to seeing in “religious” Islamic art, these sculptures continued to be important as a part of “secular” Islamic art. These are just some of the elements that created a more modified version of Islamic art that seems different to the Islamic art of the Middle East and North Africa, which is like the case of the Islamic art of Southeast Asia which also blended the native beliefs and traditions into the Islamic art coming to those areas.
Focusing on the architecture of Sub-Saharan Africa, we can see another way the Islamic architecture was modified according to available materials of the region. If we look at the case studies presented in the lecture, like the great mosque in Djenne or the Djingareyber mosque in Timbuktu in Mali, placed in the Sahel area, made of sun-dried mud brick called Adobe, or the new houses of “Tabali”, or pear-shaped mud bricks, we can see how materials used were those available in the area, which is one of the reasons these objects look so different compared to mosques in the Arabic lands that are mostly made of stone. These materials, shaped by hand, are organic and often asymmetric, which adds a special quality to the architectural elements differing from the rigidity of the aesthetics of the rest of the Islamic world. It almost feels like every person who helped shape the facade imprinted a part of themselves into it. Other interesting details we can notice on the exteriors are wooden reinforcements sticking out of the facades as spikes, that also served as a sort of scaffolding for people to climb and work on the facade, as the mud facades needed to be often maintained. The interior of a Sub-Saharan Mosque is simplified and minimalist, stripped of interior decoration and colors, somewhat ascetic, most of the surfaces are covered in mud, both interior and exterior, which is again very different from heavily decorated mosques in other parts of the world filled of mosaics and porcelain tiles. The arches and columns remain important parts of the mosque interior’s supportive structure, and something we expect to see like minarets, orientation of qibla wall, mihrab, open courtyard, and a covered sanctuary area are still there. Often, these mosques get bigger over time with expansions, as the number of people using the mosques would grow, so it is sometimes hard to know how exactly they looked at the time they are initially built, as expansions and renovations would alter architectural elements and change the look of their architecture. Some structures, like Nando Mosque, show ever closer the influence of indigenous culture to the Sub-Saharan African architecture, and the carved high relief motifs on the interior walls show close connection to pre-Islamic Dogan visual aesthetic tradition, while the function of the building is still following the started conventions of a mosque. In the image attached bellow, it is interesting to see a few more images of the Nando Mosque, including the floor plan and cross-section, which I think are quite interesting, as I am sure it was not easy to create architectural drawings of a building that is so organic in its nature and design, and every single wall is unique.
All the abovementioned unique features of the Sub-Saharan art further help us understand the diversity of Islamic art across the world in ever more detail, and how local cultures and customs can affect the development of art even when they come from the same core. Just as it was the case with Southeast Asian Islamic art, the Islamic art of Sub-Saharan Africa might be somewhat neglected in the art history when compared the Islamic art of the Arabic lands, and it is our job to help it be more recognized.