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Between Logos (Kalima) And Light (Nūr): Representations Of The Prophet Muhammad In Islamic Painting

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Chapter Summary

Variant approaches and responses to images unfortunately render the examination of Islamic pictorial production quite speculative in nature. Despite these impediments, it is possible to explore some of the main iconographic developments and various symbolic implications of representations of Muhammad in a number of Islamic artistic traditions. This chapter provides a preliminary discussion of textual and visual descriptions of the Prophet by concentrating principally on Persian materials. Representations of the Prophet Muhammad depicting the totality of his physical characteristics attempt to convey his multifaceted makeup as both existential body and atemporal presence. Ultimately, the language of metaphor dominates, particularly in premodern Persian literary and artistic traditions, in which the Prophet is described in word and in form as being simultaneously polymorphic and pictographic, visible and unseen, logos and light.

Keywords: iconographic developments; Islamic pictorial production; light; logos; Persian materials; Prophet Muhammad



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