The Transformation of Calligraphy from Spirituality to Materialism in Contemporary Saudi Arabian Mosques

Almonstasheri, Ahmad Saleh A. (2018) The Transformation of Calligraphy from Spirituality to Materialism in Contemporary Saudi Arabian Mosques. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Contemporary discourses by both Western and Muslim scholars on the subject of Islamic
philosophy and art, especially the influence of globalisation on Islamic Art in general and the art
of calligraphy in particular, have drawn attention to the new architectural styles of mosques in
Saudi Arabia and the representation of calligraphy in them.
The present study aims to analyse the impact of globalisation on the transformation of
calligraphy in Saudi Arabian mosques, and investigate the paradoxical nature of authenticity in
relation to the art of calligraphy. In this study, the historical, theoretical and qualitative data were
amassed as part of the methodology. A qualitative descriptive method to a case study approach
was the primary approach for data collection. The main aim was to understand the historical
mapping of the origin and development of calligraphy, analysing its outcomes in the context of
the contemporary mosques in Saudi Arabia. The results section focuses on the answers obtained
from a questionnaire directed at artists and calligraphers, and in the interviews conducted with
experts in calligraphy. The discussion section focuses on the detailed analyses of the answers.
The study demonstrates the process of change and the misrepresentation of calligraphy and its
applications inside the mosques selected for study, including forces that have been influencing
such change. Consequently, the results show that there is a remarkable transformation of
calligraphy in its form and function in contemporary mosques in Saudi Arabia. This
transformation has been caused by due to several dominant factors including the way of
representing calligraphic patterns, the impact of the local culture, and spread of the culture of
materialism and globalisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Date: 27 July 2018
Subjects: V600 Theology and Religious studies
W200 Design studies
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Divisions: REF UoA Output Collections > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2019 16:34
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2019 17:07

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