The Bedouins of ancient Arabia and Persia made poetry a conversational art form. Several poetic forms developed from the participatory nature of tribal poetry. Today in most Arabic cultures, you may still experience public storytelling and spontaneous poetry challenges in the streets. The art of turning a rhyme into sly verbal sparring is considered a mark of intelligence and a badge of honor. Students will learn about the origins and structure of Arabic Poetry.
In this packet we look at works that span nearly a thousand yearsäóîfrom shortly after the foundation of Islam in the seventh century to the seventeenth century when the last two great Islamic empiresäóîthe Ottoman and the Safavidäóîhad reached their peak. Although the definition of Islamic art usually includes work made in Mughal India, it is beyond the scope of this packet. The works we will look at here come from as far west as Spain and as far east as Afghanistan.