Naẓar, literally ‘vision’, is a unique Arabic-Islamic term/concept that offers an analytical framework for exploring the ways in which Islamic visual culture and aesthetic sensibility have been shaped by common conceptual tools and moral parameters. It intertwines the act of ‘seeing’ with the act of ‘reflecting’, thereby bringing the visual and cognitive functions into a complex relationship. Within the folds of this multifaceted relationship lies an entangled web of religious ideas, moral values, aesthetic preferences, scientific precepts, and socio-cultural understandings that underlie the intricacy of one’s personal belief. Peering through the lens of naẓar, the studies presented in this volume unravel aspects of these entanglements to provide new understandings of how vision, belief, and perception shape the rich Islamic visual culture.
Contributors: Samer Akkach, James Bennett, Sushma Griffin, Stephen Hirtenstein, Virginia Hooker, Sakina Nomanbhoy, Shaha Parpia, Ellen Philpott-Teo, Wendy M.K. Shaw.
Samer Akkach, Ph.D (1992), FAHA, is Professor of architectural history and theory and Founding Director of the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA) at the University of Adelaide. His many works on Islamic intellectual history include ʿIlm: Science, Religion, and Art in Islam (UAP 2019).
Preface Notes to the Reader List of Figures Notes on Contributors
Aperture: Terms, Concepts, and Discourse Samer Akkach
1 Naẓar: The Seen, the Unseen, and the Unseeable Samer Akkach
2 Naẓar, Subjectivity, and ‘The Gaze’ Wendy M.K. Shaw
part 1: The Eye of the Heart
3 Human Looking, Divine Gaze: Naẓar in Islamic Spirituality Stephen Hirtenstein
4 Seeing with ‘The Eyes of the Heart’: dhikr and fikr as Sources of Insight in Indonesian Islamic Art Virginia Hooker
part 2: The Eye of the Mind
5 Transparency: Ibn Al-Haytham’s Manāẓir and Visual Perception of Beauty Ellen Philpott-Teo
6 Veiling: Ibn Al-Qaṭṭān’s Aḥkām and the Rules Concerning Seeing Samer Akkach
part 3: Evil Eye, Talismanic Seeing
7 May the Envier’s Eye be Blind Sakina Nomanbhoy
8 Talismanic Seeing: The Induction of Power in Indonesian Zoomorphic Art James Bennett
part 4: Gazing Eye, Imaginative Seeing
9 The Artist’s Gaze: Visual Representations of the Mughal Hunting Landscape Shaha Parpia
10 Vernacular Subjectivity as a Way of Seeing: Visualising Bijapur in Nujūm al-ʿUlūm and Kitāb-i-Nauras Sushma Griffin
All interested in Islamic visual culture, art history, intellectual history, cultural history, early modern history, and art and architecture; also in science, religion, and the art, and Southeast Asian art history.