June 18, 2013

Ortaköy, Istanbul. June, 2007

Islamic religious art tends to avoid the figurative. Images of Mohammed especially are discouraged. (A recent film project in which an actor portrayed the prophet was the subject of much controversy and many threats.) But what it may lack in terms of portraiture and human representation, it sure makes up for with geometric design and curlicues wherever possible. Look at these windows in the Grand Mecidiye Mosque in the Ortaköy neighborhood just north of Istanbul -- the repetitive “prayer rug” pattern in the carpet, the subtle use of gold enhancements to outline architectural details. Adding to this important mosque’s visual charms: it’s situated directly on the shores of the Bosphorus, affording beautiful views both inside and out.

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