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Safwat, Nabil F. (1986) The idea of Manzur: The process of creating pictorial space in Islamic painting. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The approach followed by this study considers the paintings themselves as documents of visual activity rendered with its own grammar for painting. It is suggested here that one has to learn to read paintings as one has to read a text from another culture. Emphasis is laid on the Islamic concept of pictorial space, especially as it differs from the "Renaissance" interpretation of spatial representation. This dissertation is divided into four chapters. The first chapter is basically a survey of the general characteristics of Islamic painting. The second chapter is devoted to the identification of the problem: it will be shown here that understanding the perspective of time and place rather than the photographic accuracy, is the perennial problem facing the art historian. The third chapter points out the current conceptions of applying "principles" of interpretation which are, on the whole, quite alien to the environment in which Islamic paintings were conceived. The fourth chapter concerns the nature of images, and how they become a language, unique and recognizable to others within a culture. This chapter also deals with the idea of Manzur, a more descriptive and correct term that is extremely important in the analysis and study of Islamic painting; and why it is vital to present it as autonomous and not parasitic on another system of interpretation.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:08

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