Images of Romanesque or Gothic cathedral architecture may linger in our memories, but many of us would be pressed to describe a typical mosque. We shall look at three of the most important forms, typified by the Friday Mosque in Cordova (now the Cathedral), the Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent in Istanbul, and the Royal Mosque in Isfahan. The lecture explores their different styles, and the minarets and domes that enhance their skylines, and illustrates the rich designs, whether in mosaic, tile, or other media, that adorn these buildings. It also asks whether sectarian differences between Sunni and Shii belief affect mosque design.
Professor James Allan is now retired, but was curator of the Islamic collection and Keeper of Eastern Art at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University, where he also set up an inter-faith exhibition service and taught Islamic art and architecture. Leads tours in the Middle East and has published numerous articles and books on Islamic art, the most recent being, The art and architecture of Twelver Shi’ism: Iraq, Iran and the Indian Subcontinent.
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