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Old December 12th, 2011, 08:40 AM   #4
Pierre Galafassi
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 80

Hi Yohann,

I do of course fully agree with you that tiles and mosaics were a very important art form of the Islamic civilization, and a very colorful one too. At least from the eight- or ninth century onward.
And, yes my Roman example of fish scale mosaic features rather dull colors, probably made, as you suggest, with natural clays and no glazing.
It was the motif analogy with the rug which seamed interesting to me.

My remark about the Sassanid- and Byzantine civilizations was merely making the point that they were the most likely «teachers» of the various technologies involved in tiles and mosaics and, perhaps, of some motifs as well, since I doubt that the Arab conquerors had any notion of these technologies when they sallied out of their barren peninsula. Nor, later, the Turco-Mongols waves.

Typically most of these conquerors had a policy of sparing the life of good artisans, even when their first attempts at Architecture were to build merry pyramids of severed heads in front of fallen cities. Centuries later Genghis Khan and even Timur religiously kept respecting both traditions.

To cite Wikipedia:
«... Artistically, the Sassanid period witnessed some of the highest achievements of Persian civilization. Much of what later became known as Muslim culture, including architecture and writing, was originally drawn from Persian culture...»
As the Roman / Byzantine learned the hard way, the Sassanid were a technologically advanced civilization.

IMHO, the Islamic civilization was the true heir and a brilliant development of the Sassanid one.

Now for the other probable «teachers» of glass making, tile glazing and mosaics ( perhaps of some motifs as well), one can have an idea of the Byzantine mastery of the technology and colors, giving a look for example to this twelfth century mosaic of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. For this technology their other creative heir was Venice.

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