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Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Room 31 | Islamic Middle East gallery

Explore artefacts made over a period of more than 1000 years in the heart of the Islamic world.

Islamic Middle East gallery

Figures

It is often thought that images of living beings are not represented in Islamic art. It is true to say that human and animal figures are not used in religious contexts, such as the decoration of religious buildings or manuscripts of the Qur'an. However, they are regularly represented in non-religious architecture and works of art.

Figures can carry symbolic messages, such as ideas of royalty and power, illustrate themes and stories, or be used as decorative patterns. While depictions in painting, on ceramics and on metalwork occur frequently, sculptured figures are rare in the Islamic lands.

Frieze tile with inscription and birds (EAX.3157) Frieze tile with inscription and birds (EAX.3157)   Fragment of a large jar (EA1978.2253) Fragment of a large jar (EA1978.2253)   Fragment of a large jar (EA1978.2251) Fragment of a large jar (EA1978.2251)
Fragment of a large jar (EA1978.2507) Fragment of a large jar (EA1978.2507)   Page from a dispersed muraqqa‘, or album, depicting a courtier holding a wine cup (EA1978.2567) Page from a dispersed muraqqa‘, or album, depicting a courtier holding a wine cup (EA1978.2567)   Base fragment of a dish depicting a woman combing her hair (EA1978.1540) Base fragment of a dish depicting a woman combing her hair (EA1978.1540)
Base fragment of a dish depicting a man wearing a turban (EA1978.2292) Base fragment of a dish depicting a man wearing a turban (EA1978.2292)   Base fragment of a dish with two men on horse-back fighting a non-human creature (EA1978.2423) Base fragment of a dish with two men on horse-back fighting a non-human creature (EA1978.2423)   Bowl with seated female figures (EA1956.108) Bowl with seated female figures (EA1956.108)
Dish with seated female figure against a foliate background (EA1956.52) Dish with seated female figure against a foliate background (EA1956.52)   Casket with figural decoration (EA2009.23) Casket with figural decoration (EA2009.23)   Bowl with figural and calligraphic decoration (EAX.1202) Bowl with figural and calligraphic decoration (EAX.1202)
Notice

Objects may have since been removed or replaced from a gallery. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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