The Court of Gayumars from the Shahnameh of Shah Tahmasp (cropped) | Credit: WikiCommons

I was delighted this past week to read Delaney Smith’s cover story on Goleta’s new mosque, but somewhat surprised to find the old misconception that “Muslims never represent humans or animals in their art.” While this is generally true of the decoration of mosques, figural representation has always been quite common throughout the “Muslim world,” with paintings of people, animals, dragons, and more. I happily encourage all readers to Google the Houghton Shahnameh and the frescoes of Qasr Amra to get a taste of just how peopled, gorgeous, and even humor-laden “Islamic” art is!


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