1.1 Stained glass windows of Nasīr al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran – 1001inventions.com/nasiralmulkmosque
From Ibn Al-Haytam’s optical lenses and Ibn Hayyan’s chemistry flasks to a mosque lamp of Amir Qawsun, Muslim Civilisation played a major role in inspiring the growth of glass industry from the 8th century onwards.
Mosques, houses and cities were transformed into beautiful spaces richly decorated with glass. Beauty and functionality were both essential elements of design in Muslim Civilisation. Possibly in an effort to supply the thousands of mosques, and also thanks to the input provided by the thriving scientific activity in fields such as optics and chemistry, glassmakers in Muslim Civilisation turned – what had up till then been – a craft into an industry employing new techniques and large number of workers from different parts of the Muslim Civilisation.
Under Islam, the glass industry witnessed a revival. The old centres flourished and new ones were established. The remarkable, sumptuous Islamic glass treasures which are distributed among museums throughout the world, bear witness to the high artistic and technological level of Islamic glass.”
A. Y. Al-Hassan*
“The rise of Islam, and the resulting expansion of Muslim territories through the seventh century A.D., ultimately gave rise to a society that kept alive many of the achievements that were lost in the west. Mosaic glass, cast and cut vessels, and free- and mold-blown wares continued to be made, and starting in the ninth century, new decorative approaches emerged. The principal advance began with the discovery that glass could be painted with metallic stains, resulting in a type of glass known as lustre ware because of its distinctive sheen. This was the first stained glass.”*
9.1 Window in stained glass, 17th century, Egypt or Syria (Ottoman period?) (38.7 x 48.3 cm). A window such as this with brightly coloured panes in blue, orange, green, and red might have been found in a room of an aristocratic home in the Islamic world. Tinted glass was favoured because it filtered the light, but it also complemented the multihued furnishings of the room.
German art historian Otto von Simson explained the origin of the rose window by comparing the idea to the six-sided rosettes and octagon window on the outside wall of the Umayyad palace Khirbat al-Mafjar, built in the Holy Land in about 750 CE. The theory is that Crusaders saw such windows and brought the idea back to Europe, introducing it into churches.”
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