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        The Word

        View this Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World video clip and image gallery of art objects related to the theme of 'the word' and consider how they are reflective of Islamic culture. View an enamel class bowl from Syria, and metal pen box from Iraq, a Hijazi Koran, a blue Koran from Tunisia and a Samanid Bowl from Iran.

        http://www.islamicart.tv/

        Metal Pen Box: 13 C. Iraq

        This image of a pen box is one of the only works of art that can be traced to the city of Mosul through a unique inscription beneath the lid. The inscription states: “This pen case was made in Mosul – The Protected – in the year 653 … Engraved by Ali ibn Yahya al-Mawsili that same year.” Apart from a ewer in the British Museum, this is the only other work of art that can be traced to Mosul itself through an inscription. The pen case is worn and was restored in modern times, but the remnants of the finely engraved ornamentation still bear witness to its high quality.

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        Hijazi Koran: 7 C. Arabia

        This image is a leaf fragment from one of the oldest extant copies of the Koran. It is a palimpsest, meaning the original text was scraped off and a new one was written on the parchment. In time, the original text reemerged and now can be read as a shadow under the later one. Both texts are transcripts of the Koran's Sura 2, “The Cow.”

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        Blue Koran: 10 C. Tunisia

        This image of an early Koran is one of its period's most famous, especially because of the parchment's blue color, gold script, and verse marker in now decomposed silver. In order to spread the text uniformly over the page, certain letters were lengthened artificially, using a practice called mashq. The text is therefore difficult to read because the spaces between individual letters and between whole words is sometimes the same.

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        Enameled Glass Bowl: 14 C. Egypt, Syria

        This image of an enameled glass bowl depicts the technique of decorating glass with polychrome enamel. The technique was developed under the Ayyubids, but reached a zenith in the Mamluk period when glass of the type was also exported to Europeʼs Christian realms and to the Far East. It is believed that the bowl was in China around 1900.

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        Samanid Bowl: 10 C. Iran

        This image depicts a bowl which contains the Arab saying, “He who believes in a reward [from God] is generous with gifts." The phrase begins with four dots, and is difficult to read because the exceedingly elegant Kufi calligraphy is interwoven, knotted and embellished with a variety of palmettes.

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        The Word Video

        In this clip from "Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World," learn the importance of the word to Islamic faith and how this is embodied in Islamic art and architecture. More than poetry of the words of a holy book, the Koran is considered the very word of God and because this revelation is God's gift to mankind, writing becomes the central feature of Islamic culture.

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