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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: The Golden Age of Islamic Architecture: Masterpieces from Spain to India (HIAR10144)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines three key monuments of Islamic architecture, the Alhambra in Granada, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, along with earlier structures that contributed to their development. This is in order to demonstrate the main styles of architectural form and decoration in the late medieval period across the wider Islamic world.
Course description This specialist course uses three key monuments, spanning the eastern, central and western Islamic lands, from the late medieval and early modern periods as prisms through which a deeper understanding of a larger corpus of buildings is established. Through a close study of the Alhambra in Granada, the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul and the Taj Mahal in Agra, a picture of the scope of Islamic architecture can become clear. The subject structures include a palace, a mosque and a tomb, thus giving an overview of the primary architectural forms employed in the Islamic tradition. Numerous antecedent structures of the three key monuments, along with the construction materials and decorative motifs, will be examined. This will show the processes by which some of the main dynastic styles of the period emerged. There is a particular focus on the aesthetics developed in Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Students will have the opportunity to handle architectural fragments and art objects from the period throughout the seminars in order to aid their understanding of the process of construction as well as providing a deeper level of engagement.

The course covers buildings constructed from a wide variety of materials, and will give an explanation of how the primary media of construction were combined to create the formal and decorative whole. By drawing on a wide range of sources, but focusing on three key monuments, students will gain the ability to assess the fluid nature of craftsmen and craft practices, the views of the main scholars in the field, and a sense of the hybridity, diversity and underlying unity of the art and architecture of the Islamic world.

Many of the structures examined in the course have become iconic elements of post-Imperial national identity. By examining the wide range of cultural sources, students will develop an ability to critically assess the often questionable basis of modern political interpretation and appropriation of historical artefacts.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.

High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an awareness of the scale and the scope of medieval and early modern Islamic architecture.
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the medieval phase of development and gain a strong grasp on the key monuments covered in the course.
  3. demonstrate that you can recognize the primary materials and decorative styles of the major dynasties ruling the Islamic world during the period of study.
  4. demonstrate an ability to critically analyze the opinions of key scholars in the field, and synthesize differing views regarding the connections between the arts of the various regions of the Islamic world.
  5. demonstrate an ability to assess the level of restoration that the subject buildings have undergone, and develop the critical skills to be able to identify what is original and what is later restoration.
Reading List
Alfieri, B. M. Islamic Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, Laurence King, London (2000)
Barrucand, M. Moorish Architecture in Andalucia, Taschen, Köln (1992)
Bates, Ü. 'The Patronage of Sultan Süleyman: The Süleymaniye Complex in Istanbul', Memoriam A. L. Gabriel, Edebiyat Fakültesi Arastirma Dergisi Özel Sayisi 9 (1978), pp.67-76
Blair, S., & Bloom, J. The Art and Architecture of Islam 1250-1800, Yale University Press, London (1994)
Ettinghausen, R., Grabar, O. & Jenkins-Medina, M. The Art and Architecture of Islam 650-1250, Yale University Press, London (2001)
Flood, F. B. Piety and Politics in the Early Indian Mosque, Oxford University Press, Oxford (2008)
Goodwin, G. A History of Ottoman Architecture, Thames & Hudson, London (1971)
Hillenbrand, R. Islamic Architecture: Form, Function, Meaning, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh (1994)
Images in Time: A Century of Photography at The Alhambra 1840 - 1940, Tf Editores / Junta de Andalucia (2003)
Kuban, D. 'The Style of Sinan's Domed Structures', Muqarnas IV (1987), pp.72-97
Kuban, D. Ottoman Architecture, Antique Collectors Club, Woodbridge (2010)
Lambah, A. N. & Patel, A. (eds.) The Architecture of the Indian Sultanates, Marg Publications, Mumbai (2006)
Lehman, O. Islamic Aesthetics: An Introduction, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh (2004)
Mango, C. Byzantine Architecture, Faber & Faber, London (1986)
Man'kovskaia, L. & Golombek, L. 'Towards the Study of Forms in Central Asian Architecture at the End of the Fourteenth Century: The Mausoleum of Khvaja Ahmad Yasavi', Iran, Vol. 23 (1985), pp.109-127
McClary, R. 'Brick Muqarnas on Rum Saljuq buildings - The introduction of an Iranian decorative technique into the architecture of Anatolia', in Funun /, No.3 (2014), pp.1-11
Necipoglu, G. The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire, Reaktion Books, London (2005)
O'Kane, B. Timurid Architecture of Khurusan, Mazda, Costa Mesa CA (1987)
Porter, Y., & Degeorge, G. The Glory of the Sultans: Islamic Architecture in India, Flammarion, Paris (2009)
Tabbaa, Y. 'The muqarnas dome: its origin and meaning', Muqarnas III (1993), pp.61-74

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills To have developed critical understanding and detailed knowledge.
To demonstrate originality and apply it to subject specific research.
KeywordsIslamic art,Islamic architecture,Medieval,Early Modern,Honours,Agra,Instanbul,Granada
Course organiserDr Richard McClary
Tel: (0131 6)50 2326
Course secretaryMrs Rosie Hall
Tel: 0131 651 5802
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