Posted by Jim on June 14, 2003 at 13:12:26:
In Reply to: Why is Islamic Architecture COLORFUL? Due in 4 hours, HELP! posted by Katie on June 05, 2003 at 10:44:47:
Part of the reason may lie in the fact that the Quran (Koran) forbids the depiction of natural forms, lest one be induced to worship them as is done in many polytheistic religions around the world. Islam is fervently monotheistic in the name of Allah. While the more drab surroundings of desert lands might influence people to use more color, it may simply be that they had the technology to use local materials for color (as in ceramic tiles) and the traditional use of color in textiles, where the earliest dyes and colors were used. With ornamentation and pattern being restricted to the geometric, there is strong influence to resort to color to vary otherwise almost monochromatic designs. Use of natural forms would, of course, influence the traditional artists in non-Muslim lands to color his botanical designs, for example, close to the natural colors he finds -- which may not be as bright as the man-made synthetic versions of them.
Have you noticed too that the darker the complexion of a people, the more likely they are to use bright colors? I think it may have something to do with the color/light response of the eyes, where one expects and desires the return of light from a surface to stimulate the eyes, and when no such light is significantly returned, one compensates for the dark skin not reflecting light, by using colors in some way to achieve that return of light to the eyes, as from the face painting, jewelry, and dyed garments that such cultures use. One can expand this theory by noticing that there is a harmony in nature as to the degree of coloration of some birds more in keeping with their surroundings. The colorful peafowl (peacocks) would look garish in the reddish-brown colors of trees and fallen leaves of northern forests, but in their native lands of vibrant tropical greens, they do not appear garish at all. Therefore, the background of the landscape can also influence the colors one finds there. After all, our Grand Creator was the first and will always be, the Consumate Artist and he knows how to adorn His earth, as any person with even an ounce of humility will agree.
This information may be too late for your report, but it should lead you into more areas of study should the subject again arise.
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