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In Pursuit of Heritage: Tracing Early Elements of Islamic Architecture

In Pursuit of Heritage: Tracing Early Elements of Islamic Architecture

>>From the Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C.>>Good afternoon, and welcome to
the African and Middle East Division of the Library of Congress. I’m Mary-Jane Deeb, Chief of
the Division, and I’m very happy to see you all here for a
very special presentation with Dr. Rana Al Kadi, who will talk
to us about a fascinating subject that we have not often
addressed in our lecture series, and that is Islamic architecture. This presentation is co-sponsored
with the Middle East Institute, and I would like to thank
more particularly Kate Seely, the Senior Vice President of
the Institute for suggesting that the Library of Congress
would be the ideal setting for this lecture. I was the one to thank Diedre,
who is here, and I’ve just met, from the Middle East
Institute, there she is, and who has organized this
program from this side of the Middle East Institute. But before we introduce
our speaker today, I would like to make my usual
commercial about our division here. As many of you know, our division
is made up of three sections. The African, the Hebraic,
and the [inaudible] sections, and we cover over-we’re responsible
at least-for over 78 countries in the region including in the
whole of Africa, Central Asia, the Caucuses, and beyond. And we invite people
to use our collections, so this is a reading room,
and it is in this reading room that people will come
and do research. We’re not a lending library. We’re not like the public
libraries that lend out books. We collect materials. The whole library collects
materials from the whole world, in all languages, in all scripts. In fact, this division
collects materials in the vernacular-in other
words, if you’re doing research on Islamic architecture, if the
materials are in Arabic or Turkish or in Persian, those
materials would be here. But if the materials that you want
are in English, French, German, or Italian, or whatever, they’re
part of the general collection. So we are focused on languages,
rather than on national, political entities as such. We’re very active in acquiring
and developing our collections. We’re active in serving
our collections. We also, this place,
we brief people. We have groups that
come, often organized by different organizations, or by
the International Visitor’s Program, of the State Department, so we
do a great deal of interacting with people from our regions. We have had exhibits, major
exhibits, in the past few years. And we hope to have more of them. And we also invite scholars
and experts who have researched and done work in our
areas of responsibility, to share with us their
insights, and their findings. So that all of us attending
and participating in the programs leave
enriched with new information and a better understanding
of the cultures and societies whose
publications we collect. A case in point, of course,
is the scholar we have today. Dr. Al Kadi is from Saudi
Arabia, and a native of Medina. And therefore, well located to discuss this important
subject, Islamic architecture. However, there is a twist here. Her research on Islamic architecture
has focused on the western part of the Muslim world,
on North Africa, Spain, rather than on the eastern part. At least this is my understanding. Perhaps she will correct me. And I hope that she
will tell us what it was that drew her in that direction. But now, for a fuller
introduction of Dr. Al Kadi, is our own Arab world
specialist, Dr. Muhannad Salhi. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Thank you Mary-Jane. Welcome everybody. Thank you for joining us. Rana Al Kadi, a native of
Medina, began to carve her place in the world of architecture
over 15 years ago, at a time when related
jobs for women were few in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In what Al Kadi describes as a major
turning point, she transitioned from a career in petroleum
to pursue her passion for architectural design. As she continued to gain
expertise in visual arts, as well as architectural planning
and interiors, Al Kadi served in the Saudi Ministry of
Foreign Affairs in Madrid, Spain. While in Madrid, she earned her PhD
from the Universidad Polytechnica, Madrid, in conservation,
and restoration of architectural heritage, with a focus on Islamic
architecture in the Muslim region. Al Kadi’s travels throughout
Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey and Spain further
enriched her interactions with [inaudible] architectural
sites, inspiring her to continue
preservation and restoration work in Saudi Arabia, and her
beloved home city of Medina. Her expertise in visual
arts, architectural planning, and interiors, and conservation, has made Al Kadi a trailblazer
among Saudi women in her field. Dr. Al Kadi’s research and current
work focuses on Islamic domes, and crossed arches in the
[inaudible] region, and the origins of Islamic vaults, and
the arrival in Spain and preservation intervention
in Europe. More recently, Al Kadi
has had exhibitions and private preservations projects
in historical sites and districts. Blending cultural heritage with
fresh technological elements in a perfect illustration
of her passion for meeting traditional
architecture with the contemporary. Her work offers a fresh look at
Islamic architectural elements, the bridge geographical,
region and historical contacts. Just a quick note to the audience,
while we welcome this event as being videotaped, as you
can see, so we welcome you to ask questions during the
question and answer period, but please be aware that
by asking questions, you are giving your
consent to be videotaped, and your voice will
be videotaped as well. Also we are going to
keep you busy today. There are two sets of
surveys, if you’re so inclined. There is one from our
division, and there is one from the Middle East Institute,
so please feel free to fill them. The lovely Miriam from the Middle
East Institute has left pens for you over there, if you need a pen. So please feel free to fill the
surveys, and leave them at the desk over there at the end
of the session. So, without further
adieu, Dr. Rana Al Kadi. [ Applause ]>>Thank you for the introduction. I’m so happy to be in
this beautiful place, talking about my passion,
Islamic architecture. Have you ever thought why it
is called Islamic architecture? Like we are talking
about civilizations that have covered massive
areas from west to east, yet it is named with a belief. If we want to talk about
civilizations that were based on religion, like Christian
architecture or Jewish architecture, they are never labeled
with their beliefs, except Islamic architecture. Have you thought of it? In reality, Islamic
architecture is not about a space to play, it’s not about a mosque. It is philosophies in art. Philosophies, and selection and
creating elements, patterns. So today, I’m going to talk
about these philosophies that I have figured out while in
my research, doing my PhD study. Let’s go back to the birth of Islam. It started in Medina. There was no architecture at
that time, only mud buildings, like traditional buildings. Only one structure was
in the Arabian Peninsula, which was [foreign term]. A prophet of Islam was
died, and they have moved and shifted the capital of Islam
to the north, to the [inaudible]. And the first Islamic civilization
was called [foreign word spoken]. In Arabic, [Arabic word spoken]. So what has happened, from being in
a desert, in an Arabian peninsula, they have shifted, and was
exposed to the Roman architecture, Byzantine architecture,
and Sassanid architecture. It was like a shock seeing
[inaudible], mosaic, domes, seeing this massive
architecture of Roman. So they got influenced
with these elements. Now, when we go back
to Islam…oops, the [foreign word spoken]
was a temple. It was not a mosque. The methodologies at that time was
converting a temple to a mosque, converting a church to a mosque. So this was the methodology. Why? Economically,
easy, shows power. So what has happened, after
Islam, this temple was converted, and became a mosque, and
it’s called The Holy Mosque, and located in Mecca. Now, [inaudible], the faith
of Islam has expanded. The east, to Persia, Central Asia, and west to North Africa,
and south Europe. So these massive lands were
covered with-were consisting of Islamic architecture. When we talk about Islamic
architecture, it is classified. Each period of time,
there was Islamic dynasty, and each dynasty has
its own architecture. By reviewing these elements, you
would know the name of the dynasty. So let me just go through
these dynasties. The first dynasty was the Umayyad. And then, Abbasid architecture, which is in Arabic,
[Arabic term spoken]. Tulunid architecture, which
is [foreign word spoken]. Fatimid architecture, which
is [foreign word spoken]. Aghlabid architecture, which
is [foreign word spoken], Seljuk architecture, which
is [foreign word spoken]. Ottoman architecture, which
is [foreign word spoken]. And Mughal architecture, which
is [foreign word spoken]. So these are part of the
Islamic architecture element. Whenever you see them,
you understand that these empires
were in these lands. How this architecture has
transferred-you’re talking about massive area. Miles, it’s west and east. Like, if you take a plane to
these places, it takes hours. What about traveling using camels? So these road trips
used to called caravans. A caravan site. In ancient times, there
were two routes, one in the summer,
and one in the winter. It started from China, going to
Afghanistan, from Afghanistan to Khorasan, a road from Afghanistan
to Persia, and from Persia going to Iraq, and from Iraq,
you go back to Damascus, and from Damascus,
you have two roads. You go to Europe, to Italy, or
you take another road from Iraq to Egypt, from Egypt to Morocco,
and from Morocco to Spain. So these were the stations. The caravan used to have like people
used to carry animals, carry food, carry art, carry human being. So it’s a long road trip, and
culture used to go back and forth. The thing is, when you look and
observe the Islamic architecture, just like amazing art
with philosophies that sometimes-like
it has definition. It can be like all of a sudden
this architecture was created. So I had this curiosity of understanding how these
patterns were created. The bricks. How they are overlapping, the
orientation, the calligraphy. From where was the start? You’re talking about decades of art. So, my passion toward
this started in Spain. Did anyone go to [inaudible]? Oh, lucky you! One, two, three, four! Oh! I have friends here. Did you get this feeling of like tremendous art,
that have significance? That you cannot understand
from how much the beauty of it? So I started, because
it’s part of my culture, wanting to understand these
philosophies, and linking religion to these philosophies,
how they were developed. So in Granada, which is Alhambra,
I was like every time you go there, you feel like you never saw
it, because it is lots of art that you cannot observe from
one time, from one visit. Observing these architectural
elements, the bricks, the stones, the arches, the colors,
the domes, the details, and here was the big shock. What is this? How can you identify this element? Is it a dome? Like, what can we call this? It’s tremendous art
that you cannot explain, and I wanted to know how
they have created it. How is the structure,
the construction, how many years it took them. So I started searching for
philosophies, and understanding, going to vintage shops, trying
to buy books, to understand it. And I’m having here, like it is
tall, connected with the wall, with the ceiling, but you
cannot describe the space. So I started-I figured out one
of the great philosophies in art, in Islamic art, which is
called the panic of emptiness. And it to me is that a flat form, and you extrude it,
so it’s like panic. And from here, the concept of these
elements started to be created, like they designed these
patterns, flat designs, and then they extrude
it and make it 3D. So I wanted to know more
about these patterns from where they were abstracted. And I found vintage
drawings from Persia. And I started to think and analyze,
and read more, and surprisingly, these patterns were
extracted from Quran. These, the Quran is
the book, for Muslims. And they started translating these
phrases, these verses, into art. So they calculate, for example, it’s written like here,
[foreign words spoken]. Seven skies. Here is the vision. Seven skies. So they take number seven, multiply
it by two, divide it by four, and these, they started
having these equations, and due to these equations, they
start to draw their patterns. Let’s have an example. Ah, these philosophies, this
philosophy wanted me to understand from where geometries started,
like and I figured out one of these colors, Persian color,
called Muhammad Al Khwarizmi. He is the scholar who
invented geometry. At that time, it was
just in the 9th Century. This is [foreign word spoken]. People started trying to
understand it, and there was a boom, and evolution, and
understanding these geometries. So through caravan roads, these
scholars started to travel around. The scholars started to move from
places from-through the caravans, and this knowledge started
to be like quite a fashion, like it is started to be
the knowledge, like a trend. Like when they invented computers,
everyone wanted to learn it. And now we’re with the
iPhones and more stuff, they keep inventing things. So at that time, geometry
was an invention, and they started applying it
into architecture and to pattern, and to design, and to [inaudible], and it became part of
the Islamic culture. This took me to another philosopher,
who invented the social signs. Ibn Khaldun, one of
the famous historians, who has written a book
called Al Muqaddimah, which is an introduction. This book is consists of lots of
philosophies, and what is unique about Ibn Khaldun, that there is
link between my thinking and his. He linked social science with
history and civilizations, and on the other hand, I have this
fashion of linking social science to architecture, why these
buildings were created. These buildings were
created for humans. What is behind this, so I wanted
to dig more, into Ibn Khaldun, and understand his way of thinking, because he analyzed
civilization and history. And I decided to go to have
a trip to his neighborhood. So I moved from south
Europe to North Africa. And specifically, to his
city, which is Tunis. Anyone went to Tunis? Any friends? Oh, you’re my friend
[laughter], you traveled a lot. We should talk about
this, your travels. The thing is, I wanted
to understand, like, because you cannot think there is
something about the environment, like my passion started in Spain. I wanted to know what was
the passion behind Ibn Khaldun’s studies? So I went to his neighborhood, no one went to his
neighborhood except me-oh, we’re friends [laughter]. I wanted to live the past
with an eye of the present. I wanted to analyze it myself. I didn’t want to depend
on books and resources. I went to his mosque,
where he used to teach, and wanted to dig more
into the oldest city. Ibn Khaldun quoted, “History appears
to be just a story, but at its core, it’s more of observation
and investigation.” Which made me want to know more, me. I wanted to know from my eye. I wanted to observe it myself. And I ended by quoting
“Observation is the key to history.” It links you to stories. It takes you to dig and
search for philosophies. So I wanted to visit the oldest city
in North Africa, which is in Tunis, and it’s called Kairouan [laughs]. Al Kairouan is the oldest
Islamic city in North Africa. I wanted to know what are
the architectural monuments in this land. And following the first
steps and arrival of Islam. I started taking photos, like
Japanese, like Japanese here, like taking pictures,
as much as I can. It was so hot, you
will never imagine. I know I am from Saudi,
I understand this, but you would never understand what
hot means until you go to Kairouan, and it was like thinking, why would
people build a civilization, mosque, and do these arts, in a desert. Which made me think one of
the Islamic philosophies. And I wanted to dig and go
back to the-back to history. And go to the spot where the first
Islamic civilization started, which is in Damascus. I went to double check on the
form of the mosques and compare between [inaudible] and North
Africa, Tunis, and then Damascus, and I figured out great
similarity in the form of mosque. But guess what! This mosque was a church. The elements that the great
mosque, the great mosque of Damascus were part of
the Byzantine architecture. A tower, the chamber hall, the dome. So Muslims, when the Islam
religion, when it expanded and reached the [inaudible], they
were exposed to these cultures, and they started adapting
elements from the past. The tower, the Christian tower, or a part of the Byzantine
architecture became Minarets. And the chamber halls were used as
well in the Islamic architecture, this is the entrance, before
you enter the prayer hall, and they also adopted the domes. So I wanted to double check, and
the all cities, of the whole land, and I went to Fes, in Morocco. It is the oldest city in Morocco. And different art. Different forms. If we compare it is more
similar to Andalusia. So Morocco and Andalusia have
similarities, while Kairouan and Damascus have similarity. So there are forms. The mosque are not one
structure, or one form. So I had to, and first, I figured
out the first Islamic creation which is the [inaudible], it was not
extracted from other civilizations, and it was created by Muslims. It is a dome, cross-arched, forming
a dome, and they were similar to the one in Andalusia, and
they are considered the first architectural elements
created by Muslims. I have-as I have said
before, they were influenced with previous elements, but
this was an Islamic creation, and the patterns are geometrical. Digging in the history, the years, checking what was built before the
other, and I figured out that this, in Spain, the first cross-vaults
were created in Spain. So I went back home [inaudible],
double checking and trying to understand how these
philosophies, how this creation have started,
architectural creation has started. And we go back to the
Panic of Emptiness. Where the pattern, the flat
patterns, became extruded, 3D, which goes back to
the [inaudible] signs. So they created on these
philosophies, to create an art. These are the famous cross vaults. And the first in Cordoba. Then another style. Another form. And the 10th century, in Zaragoza. Ibn Khaldun says the professions
are perfected, and became plenty, when the demand for them increased. I quote, “If a profession is in
great demand, people will learn it.” Like my mom, she knew
how to use What’s Up, and my mobile never stopped, so
whenever you need to know something, it become like the
demand of it became great. And here comes, when Muslims started to apply these geometrical
patterns into the elements. As you can see, in Iran, they
started Isfahan, and Termiz, and in Central Asia, they started
using these geometrical patterns into minarets, into domes, into
the façades, exteriors, interiors, patterns, geometrical patterns
became part of the Islamic culture. Here are other types, when they have
mixed the tiles with the bricks. So it became the trend. And it became part of the
Islamic architectural identity. And as we have said before, these
patterns are not random designs, always extracted from Islamic
disciplines, from Quranic, versus, now these patterns became part
of an architectural design, like if you can see, on
the side, a Muqarnas, is that these patterns became
3D, so it started to be part of the Islamic culture in
building, having these 3D monuments, instead of having flat patterns. Examples of a Muqarnas. Ceilings, in Morocco,
and Alhambra, again. So my study and trip and journey
going back and forth leads me back to a Muqarnas where
I started, Alhambra, to try to understand how this
architectural element was developed. And my studies about
these philosophies and geometrical designs,
takes me back to Alhambra. Oops. This is supposed
to be me [laughter]. Ibn Khaldun quote, “Language is
one side of people’s thoughts.” And a quote, “Language is
a way to explore history.” Normally, when we read about
any subject that interests us, we read it from looking for our
language, and from my observation and study, I figured out it’s wrong. If you want to know a certain
science, you have to know it with the language of the
person who have written it. Because translation changes the
meaning, changes the philosophy, and from the whole
trips, I understood, understanding people’s
way of thinking. The way to explain that knowledge
is very important, that’s why I try to understand Persian,
start to understand Spanish, and even [inaudible], which
is the language of Morocco. And that is the whole story of
the geometrical Islamic art, and I was like, I took
you through the journey to understand my philosophy, and the
Panic of the Emptiness philosophy that was created by Muslims,
and started to travel around the massive
lands from east to west. Thank you for being here today. [ Applause ]>>Thank you. Have time for question and answer. Okay?>>I’d like to know if
the cross [inaudible], the cross-hatch dome was meant
to function like the buttresses, and some European domes
to keep the weight off it? Do you know if that
was built into Islam, that they used for this process?>>The question is were the
cross hatched domes meant to->>Beyond the design->>Beyond the design,
were they meant to->>Distribute the weight
of the dome. Like buttresses are in some
European architectural domes.>>Were they meant to distribute
the weight of the design like the buttresses in the->>And please, again?>>Were the cross hatch domes meant to distribute the weight,
like in the European->>Buttresses.>>Buttresses.>>Amazing, it’s not. And that was the great
study that Spanish people, trying to understand
the construction of the gothic vaults,
and the Islamic vaults. The thing is, they are patterns,
and they are-the weight goes to the spoke squinches [assumed
spelling] on the corners. That was, that is why the squinches
are designed in a [inaudible], which has niches, so they are
only forms that forming the dome, but they don’t carry the
structure of the vault. Now, but in the gothic
designs, they carry the vault. That’s why they are
built with stone. On the other hand,
Islamic architecture, they used to use bricks, and
the bricks are very light in weight, and very easy to form. That’s why most of the Islamic
architecture used to use bricks, although the basis, the foundation
of the architectural buildings are from big stones, to carry
the load of the building, but then they use bricks. This is very deep question
about the vaults.>>Please.>>Originally some new
mosques built in [inaudible], do they follow any of this pattern?>>The question is the
new mosques built in->>In Senegal.>>In Senegal, do they
follow the same pattern as->>The what?>>The new mosques built in Senegal. Do they follow the same?>>I need to see a picture, Senegal?>>Do they have [inaudible]
minarets?>>Conical, conical vaults?>>The minaret [inaudible]->>Ah these, yeah. These are Islamic,
but they are conical and they are famed during
the dynasty called Rustamid. It is Rustamid Dynasty. And they are not-they are Islamic, but they are not-like
they are branch. And they have their own
architectural elements, and they are conical. Did you visit the-oh! How are they from inside?>>They’re [inaudible]->>Yeah. They are built by bricks. They are built by bricks, and even
in Tanzania, there are samples of them, they famed in Africa, yeah,
you’re right, but only in Africa. [ Inaudible Comments ]>>What did he say?>>They’re financed by Saudi
Arabia, the ones built in Tanzania.>>I’m not sure about
this information. Yeah. But there is architecture
for the desert people who live in the desert, and normally
they use mud, but we don’t have in Saudi these conical,
pointed vaults. But I’ll double check, and this
is the beauty about researching, that you get an information
and you dig on, and go and maybe visit
Senegal, after this question.>>Thank you very much for your
presentation, beautiful images, I wanted to ask you, in terms of
the materials, you already alluded to it, but in terms of the
materials, did the different types of architecture that existed
throughout this large region that you show, was it
adapted to the environment? In other words, some environments
are more rocky, some have marble, others have, you know, sand,
build-build glass, or mosaics, and so, were the differences in architecture also
affected by the environment? Some countries is more rain, others
there is snow, others are warm, and hot, so-the styles,
and the materials, were they affected
by the environment?>>The question is were
the styles affected by the environment,
and the materials. Were the styles and
the materials affected by the environments of these places?>>Yes, of course, because as
you saw, that Ottoman empire, because marble [inaudible] and even
the Byzantine, used to use mosaic, for the easy, like the
materials are very easy to get, while in other places, they used to
use mud, because it’s easy to use in form, and it’s more easy to get, so that’s why there are
different styles, but yet, they use the same architectural
elements. The minarets are always there,
using different materials. The dome is always there, but
using different materials. So the architectural
elements are similar, but the way of building them,
the design, the style, different, due to the area and the location.>>And the related to that, do those
materials then affect how a dome is built, because some materials
are heavier, others are lighter. So->>In terms, if we’re talking about
vaults, all Islamic architecture, in all their periods of time,
they have used the bricks. Because easy to form. Because these vaults are not
carrying, so they can play and form the vaults
in different designs. That’s why we see the vaults in
Andalusia, different than Iran, different than in [inaudible],
they have different designs. But they use the same material. Because you-if you use the stone,
different construction methods.>>I actually have a question. You mentioned the philosophy
behind the building of the-you mentioned
the freedom of the->>The panic of the emptiness->>Panic of Emptiness. Can you elaborate on that
a little bit more on that, can you tell us more about that? Yeah?>>Now the thing is, this theory
actually I’ve learned it in Spain, because Andalusia was the greatest
like peak of Islamic architecture, was in Andalusia, and they
emphasize in universities a lot about Islamic architecture, and it
became part of the Spanish culture, like you go to kindergarten school, and they teach them how
these patterns are built, because it is part of their history. It became part of their heritage,
although it was built by Muslims, but is the culture of the land. So they teach them these, and what
is nice, that they kept the names. There are 3,000 world,
and even the vocabulary of the Islamic architecture still
use the same-you see Spanish person talking to you saying
[Islamic term spoken], saying [Islamic term spoken],
saying [Islamic term spoken], so these became part of
the culture of the city. And so I wanted to know more,
because it’s an opportunity, I am there, and I wanted to study
more about the Islamic architecture, and I started digging in this, and in our university
[inaudible] considered one of the very complicated
architectural elements, like until now, lots
of researchers trying to understand how these elements,
and parts, connected together. Some are connected with each
other, some are attached. So there are eight designs of
different construction methods. Eight designs of [inaudible]. So in Spain, they do lots of
research about [inaudible]. Lots of research, and
I felt like they are like if I knew, I wanted
to know this. And they told me about how
to analyze these patterns. They use the AutoCAD and
programs to flatten these images, and draw these patterns, and extrude
them again, and then they use it in the university, they have
workshops to understand [inaudible]. So basically it is about a pattern,
geometrical pattern, connected, overlapped, whatever is
designed, like they do that in 3D. They flatten the image, then they
start understanding how these patterns are drawn, then
they extrude it and that. So it’s basically about a flat, and
then you extrude it, to become 3D. Which was long time ago the 3D, now
we are in AutoCAD, understanding how to extrude these elements,
but it’s amazing that they discovered this long time
ago, and we never knew about it. Or I didn’t know about
it [laughter].>>Just a follow-up question, how does this Andalusian
philosophy affect other areas in the Islamic world, Hispanic, of->>The thing is of, that
this philosophy became part of the [foreign term spoken],
when they invented the geometry. So [foreign term spoken]
was in Egypt, and Morocco, and Persia, and central Asia. It became part of the
architectural construction and art. [ Inaudible Question ]>>So the question
is, how do you account for the other decorative elements
in the mosques in various regions of the Islamic world,
aside from the->>How do? How do?>>With regard to this philosophy, what about the other
decorative elements, aside from the basic structures? So the different decorative
elements, say in Morocco, in Spain and->>Yeah. The thing is,
this philosophy only used for 3D elements, like the patterns
used in [foreign word spoken], and like the mosque is consist
of court, dome, there are vaults in some mosques, there is
minaret, there is [inaudible], so the thing is, this
philosophy is only applied for 3D architectural elements. The other decorative
patterns do not apply, this philosophy does not apply
on the patterns that are used into calligraphy, for example, or
the geometrical patterns and tiles, it is only used for the 3D,
because it’s panic, it’s extruding. I am not sure if I answered
your question, actually, if- [ Inaudible ]>>Can you get?>>Yeah, like the arches, the
Quranic designs, and so on, are these also part
of this philosophy or?>>The arches are element,
construction elements, they carry, they carry load. We are talking about forms. Like the [foreign word
spoken] doesn’t carry. It is only niches, or it’s
only like ornamentation but 3D ornamentations,
they are not structures. The dome, the Muqarnas
dome is a dome, that’s why it’s called
Muquarnas dome, because these niches are
attached to the dome. So the calligraphy, they are not 3D, unless you’re using
bricks and designing. So it is not extruding. You are only overlapping bricks, and
making designs with tiles or bricks, and calligraphy or in patterns, but
this philosophy only exists for 3D, like the arches, and the
[inaudible], the arches forming, it was flat design, and
it extruded to become 3D. The Muqarnas is also a flat design, and it started building niches
to create this Muqarnas. So this philosophy only for 3D. Not a pattern, or a calligraphy. It is other methodologies. Using other methods. You-it is, we need to read more
about it, because I understood it in Andalusia, they
teach it in school, part of a Muqarnas philosophy.>>I’m sorry, this is
so fascinating to me because my background
is our history. I wanted to find out if the churches
that were converted into mosques, because churches will
typically use human forms, and Islamic architecture does not,
were those human forms removed from all the churches that
were converted to mosques, or did they somehow re-design
them so they didn’t appear as->>Okay the question is the
churches that were converted into human-into human-into mosques,
that had human forms in them. Since mosques do not
use human forms, were they incorporated,
were they changed? What happened to the human
forms that were in churches, basically is that your question?>>Yeah.>>Yeah.>>Example for what you have said
is [foreign word spoken], in Turkey, they used to have Jesus drawings and
figures, but when it was converted to be a mosque, they covered
it with plasters and paints, because in Islam, they
are forbidden. It is part of their religious
discipline, so we don’t use figures. But the Ottoman empire later had
used some animals while drawing, so every time, period of time, there
was patterns and ornamentations, that is why it is important to
travel and observe yourself. Because if you read enough
information and you see figures, you understood that maybe
other civilizations were there, and you started digging,
and understanding. So but they are basically in Islam,
figures are not allowed to be used, but normally they-yeah, just-right.>>I wanted to ask you about
the structure of the courtyard, you know, and what the square
form and the buildings next to it, is that a uniform thing
you find around the region? What-and what is the
original design? Why is it square courtyard?>>The question is about the
structure of the courtyard. Is that an original design, and
what is the basis of it, basically. Is it everywhere? Is it universal?>>I love your question. I love your question,
because when studying, I figured out that the mosque, the
form of the mosque would influence with two structures, a [foreign
word spoken], which is the black, if you can see in Iran there
are mosques which are cubic, which is influenced with
the [foreign word spoken], and the other one, which is
the court, was influenced with the prophet Mohammed mosque. When prophet Mohammed
moved from Mecca to Medina, and he settled there, he built a
mosque with a chunk of palm tree and mud, and there was a court. This type of plan,
called hypo-style. And it was extracted from Greek,
where they used to use lots of columns, and covered
with a platform. So, basically in Islam, during the
history of Islamic civilization, only two forms of Islamic mosques,
one is the prophet Mohammed, which has a court, and then was
developed, expanded, changed, due to the Islamic
dynasty, through history. And the other one,
which famed in Persia, and central Asia, is the cubic one. So you can see only two forms,
and like in Turkey, they started, instead of using one dome, they
started using several domes, so the elements were
changed due to the dynasties, but the form of mosque,
there are only two. And then would classify to
eight, but we’re talking about the whole form,
like how to design. Some have bigger chamber hall,
less-more minaret, more minarets, the form changes, but the influence with the holy cities,
holy structures.>>Okay well thank you
very much Dr. Rana Al Kadi, thank you all for coming. Please fill out your surveys and- [ Applause ]>>This has been a presentation
of the Library of Congress. Visit us at LOC.gov.

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