Beauty in Arabic Culture
Although beauty, in the pre-modern Arab world, was enjoyed and promoted almost everywhere, Islam does not possess a general theory on aesthetics or a systematic theory of the arts. This is a study of the Arabic discourse on beauty. The author had to search for her evidence in written statements from a wide variety of sources, such as the Qur'an, legal, religious and Sufi texts, chronicles, biographies, belle-lettres, literary criticism, and scientific, geographic and philosophical literature. The result is a compendium of references to beauty in chapters on the Religious Approach, Secular Beauty and Love, Music and Belle-Lettres, and the Visual Arts. This approach is informative and provocative. For the generalist, it provides comparative material for an understanding of the early Arab cultural context. For the specialist, it raises questions of sponsorship and purpose.
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Although the arts were appreciated and promoted throughout the Arabic-Muslim world for centuries, there were no theoretical writings on the arts similar to those in classical Europe. However, as is ... Read full review