A Photo Album (from the book 'Unlimited Challenge') by Kasparov

By Kasparov

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Additional resources for A Photo Album (from the book 'Unlimited Challenge')

Example text

From then onward the architectural development of Cairo transformed the city into one of the few major continuous showplaces of Islamic monuments. For the early period, however, architectural information is limited to the little we know about Fustat. It is almost nonexistent for Alexandria, although a major study in preparation by a team of Polish scholars may alter the picture somewhat; nor do any smaller centers contribute much. Matters are more complicated with the other arts, for here information is plentiful, largely because Egypt, provided with a dry climate and never conquered by destructive invaders, has well preserved the documents from its past.

Most of it concerns architecture, and material culture is accessible only through a very small number of accidentally preserved objects from which draw any sort of conclusion. studied for earlier times, is it is The archaeology most difficult to of Iraq, so well only beginning for the period sur- rounding the appearance of Islam, and we are aware of only a few with proper stratification to suggest any kind of differentiation between early Islamic and pre-Islamic times. On the other hand, with Samarra we have a major source of information for the ninth century, even though the study and exploration of the huge site is a Herculean task which has hardly begun.

Way We may of defining the relative time we are seeking we are look- use a cultural term and say that ing for a classical phase in the Muslim world. The term "classical" we will have occabe easier to suggest that this classical phase, if it existed for the arts, had to have some of the following characteristics: wide cultural acceptance of certain forms as identifying the culture's functional and aesthetic needs, is obviously a dangerous and sion to return to it later. At difficult this stage repetition of standardized forms one, and it may and designs, quality of execution at various levels of artistic production, clarity in the definition of Unfortunately the state of scholarship dealing with Islamic art does not allow us as yet to say when such a classical visible forms.

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