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[文化博览] 【整理】2012-11-16 风情南西班牙 The Moorish South —12

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[Homework]2012-11-16 风情南西班牙 The Moorish South —12

But this city was also meant to touch the soul. In the Koran the words of Mohammed dictated in the desert, paradise is described as a garden flowing with streams. And Medina Azahara was built around gardens and water. This was an attempt to create a paradise on earth, a tantalizing glimpse of the eternal garden that awaits the righteous.

These arches are the same as in Cordoba's mosque, even the colour is the same, red and white, the colours of Abd-ar-Rahman Dynasty. But here how politics are blended with spirituality? And running through it all is the idea of paradise.


This is the most impressive of all of the rooms in Medina Azahara. It's the nerve centre of the entire complex, the through room of Caliph Abd-ar-Rahman III. And here it's this idea of paradise has been set in stone. It's been allowed to take over the architecture. Look at that great wall of ornamental carving. It's this stone itself has been made to go against its own nature. It's been turned into a kind of plant life, these tendrils and shoots that grow up the wall. You really do feel you are in a kind of paradise.


Plant motifs aren't the only decoration in this room. The walls are also carved in patterns made from geometry and Arab writing, both loaded with religious significance. In a world in which the depiction of real figures, real life was forbidden, the Muslim artist had to turn to pattern and elevate it to an art form. And these stunningly intricate forests of decoration are the inner core of early Islamic art. Nothing like them survives anywhere else in the world. There is the Islamic equivalent of the greatest Christian frescos, but without a human figure inside.

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