Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Thursday morning at the Louvre, Part II - Islamic Art

As an attempt to usher in 2008 on a positive note, I resolve to find more time to finish my travelogue. I still have more about Paris to mention before I can get to the Midi-Pyrenees!

After leaving the Medieval Objects d'Art area, we visited the Arts of Islam exhibit. As I mentioned before, approximately half of the characters in my book are from North Africa or Asia, so I felt it imperative to get a sense of their art.

To start off with, here's a map that was provided on the wall to give a quick sense geography.

Here is a mile marker from the year 705 with the name of Caliph 'Abd al-Malik.

Sometimes the most remarkable thing about looking at ancient artifacts is recognizing how much they resemble things we use today. As if the lives of people centuries ago were ones that we can identify with by everyday objects.

For example, look at this plate. It is identified as being from Iran and is dated to being from the 8th or 9th century.

It reminds me a lot of Folk Ark, a pattern produced by Pfaltzgraff.

It has the same colors, even if the floral design is not identical.

Here is another design for plates that I would buy if Pfaltzgraff (or another manufacturer of dinnerware offered it).

I present the griffin:

It is identified as being from Iraq in the tenth century. Having a mythological beast on a dinner plate beats floral designs any day for me.

To continue with the dinner theme, here are some forks from Iran dated to the 8th-9th century. They are a little rustic and broken, but they are clearly distinguishable as forks.

Then here is a whole collection of household items.

Here is one of my favorites, because I adore colored glass. I am not sure of where it was from or the time period, but I love the iridescence.

Then come some fragments of colored glass that is from Samarra, Iraq reportedly after the year 836. I am amazed that there was the technology for that kind of intricate design with glass all those years ago.

Next comes a tripod for incense that comes from Egypt in the 8th-9th century.

Here again is another intricately carved piece of ivory. It comes from Spain in the 10th century.

Here is a close-up picture so that you can see lions and what I think are musicians. Oh, to have such talent and patience to carve such a thing of beauty.

Then we have more mundane artifacts associated with gambling.

As well as the sport of kings otherwise known as chess.

In case you are having difficulty recognizing what it is. The object is the horse or knight piece. that comes from 9th century Iraq.

Next up are tombstones in a variety of sizes.

The last image I shall share with you comes from the Medieval underground portion of the Louvre where you can see where the moat was. It is difficult to make out, but on the individual bricks there are carved hearts which were the mark of the stone mason. I did not understand at first why I saw hearts in the bricks until I later saw a documentary about Guedelon and there was a mention of stone masons putting their marks on stones. The only way to see the marks is to zoom in. Bonne chance in seeing them!

The next time I shall share artwork that we visited just because we were in the Louvre and did a little sightseeing for fun and not only for research.



L.C.McCabe said...

Lillian Noble wrote:

Hi Linda..........."Happy New Year To You and Yours"....................."Thank You" for the last two emails!!! They have been just so entriguing and wonderful to read.......... "WOW".......I'm so glad I found you on Gimnundo!!.......................I love the photographs!!.......... "Thank You" so much for mailing them out to us...........All of us are learning so much from you and your husband, and it's so "interesting" and fun........Take Care.......Cheers, Lillian.......Victoria, Canada.

L.C.McCabe said...


I'm glad you found the last posts intriguing. I know the previous post including cultural aspects of circumcisions is a bit disturbing. I'm still relating that revelation to people and so far only two have heard of it previously. Most find it humorous at first, but then share my dismay to realize that it is still continuing to this day.

What might I ask is Gimnundo? I have had people discover my blog through a variety of sources, but that is a new one on me.


L.C.McCabe said...

Lillian wrote:

Hi, Linda......Thank you for writing..........I have heard of the circumcision practices on the Net, and other people have found them disturbing as well...........OOOOOps, I spelled Gimnundo wrong.......It should be Gimundo.......I guess I wasn't thinking, too many n's there..........and I spelt intriguing wrong too, what's the matter with me?..........Gimundo is a very interesting web site.................I thought you had sent your, Musings from a L.O.O.N. to them, and that is how you received our email addresses.............I haven't tried this, but, it may just come up on your computer, if you type in Gimundo.......Hope it does......Have a fun weekend......Take Care............Lillian

L.C.McCabe said...


The World Wide Web is filled with an almost infinite number of sites which can help to connect people from globally disperse areas to one another. I had not heard of Gimundo until you mentioned it.


However you stumbled across my blog, I am glad that you enjoy my musings on various topics.

Try to stay warm up there and I shall do my best to stay dry down here! (We are being hit by torrential rainstorms this weekend and I fully expect the Russian River to overflow its banks again and make national and international news.

Don't worry about me though no matter if you see people paddling in canoes through downtown Guerneville, my house is far away from that flood zone.