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Symbol of Divine Light: The Lamp in Islamic Culture and Other Traditio
This page has details on “Symbol of Divine Light: The Lamp in Islamic Culture and Other Traditions”
Symbol of Divine Light: The Lamp in Islamic Culture and Other Traditions
Symbol of Divine Light: The Lamp in Islamic Culture and Other Traditions
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Author(s): 
Subjects(s): 
Art
Islam
Symbolism

Price:  $22.95

ISBN:  978-1-936597-5-67
Book Size:  8" x 10"
# of Pages:  192
Language:  English



A Description of “Symbol of Divine Light”
Symbol of Divine Light: The Lamp in Islamic Culture and Other Traditions surveys the history of the mosque lamp, describing the numerous variants made in different historical periods. The book contains more than 200 stunning color and b/w illustrations.

The deep significance of light and the lamp in Islamic culture and other traditions — Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, and Hindu — is also explored, with reference made to the writings of authors who were key to what has been called the “Perennialist School,” notably Frithjof Schuon, René Guénon, Titus Burckhardt, and Martin Lings. The book presents a detailed exploration of the famous Koranic Verse of Light and the symbolism of its constituent elements: light, the niche, the lamp, glass, oil, and the tree. Parallels are also drawn with other traditions, indicating a universal symbolism.
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Details on “Symbol of Divine Light”

Symbol of Divine Light: The Lamp in Islamic Culture and Other Traditions surveys the history of the mosque lamp, describing the numerous variants made in different historical periods. The book contains more than 200 stunning color and b/w illustrations.

The deep significance of light and the lamp in Islamic culture and other traditions — Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, and Hindu — is also explored, with reference made to the writings of authors who were key to what has been called the “Perennialist School,” notably Frithjof Schuon, René Guénon, Titus Burckhardt, and Martin Lings. The book presents a detailed exploration of the famous Koranic Verse of Light and the symbolism of its constituent elements: light, the niche, the lamp, glass, oil, and the tree. Parallels are also drawn with other traditions, indicating a universal symbolism.

Symbol of Divine Light concludes that the most important function of the mosque lamp was as a symbolic reminder of the Verse of Light. This conclusion is demonstrated by examples of actual mosque lamps that were virtually non-functional as lighting devices, and also by the extensive use of the mosque lamp as a decorative motif in Islamic architecture. The book aims to give the reader an opportunity to contemplate the meaning of the mosque lamp as a symbol of Divine Light.


The Author of “Symbol of Divine Light”

Nicholas Stone

Nicholas Stone is the author of Symbol of Divine Light: The Lamp in Islamic Culture and Other Traditions, a richly illustrated book that is a survey of the history of the mosque lamp within Islam, as well as an exploration of the deep significance of light and the lamp in Islamic culture but also in other traditions (Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, and Hindu). Mr. Stone’s background is as an architect dedicated to using traditional forms and techniques. He has worked on a number of projects at important Islamic sites, including the Prophet’s Mosque and Al-Qiblatain Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. His work on a perforated brass mosque lamp ultimately led to the publication of Symbol of Divine Light: The Lamp in Islamic Culture and Other Traditions.

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Reviews of “Symbol of Divine Light”

Symbol of Divine Light provides an in-depth survey of the history and significance of the mosque lamp within the Islamic tradition and explores the numerous variants relating to the different historical periods. It explains the symbolism of the lamp with reference to the famous ‘Verse of Light’ or āyat al-Nūr found in the Koran. A cross-cultural examination is also made by probing the depths of other traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism; also provided is an analysis by preeminent exponents of the Perennial Philosophy. The work contains more than two hundred stunning color and black-and-white illustrations, making it a definitive guide to the mosque lamp. The author, Nicholas Stone, combines rare qualifications, being an architect by profession with firsthand knowledge of Islamic art and architecture, coupled with an understanding of traditional metaphysics and symbolism.… It is my hope that this book will inspire works of architecture and sacred art that are informed by the transcendent principles found within each tradition.… This is an unusual and striking work that enlightens Islamic sacred art in its multiplicity of meaning. Along with being a definitive text on the mosque lamp and its symbolism, this work also supports building bridges across the faith traditions which will increase spiritual literacy in its universality.”
— from a review by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos in Parabola



“Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, Symbol of Divine Light amply provides the reader an opportunity to contemplate the meaning of the mosque lamp as a symbol of Divine Light. Impressively informed and informative from cover to cover, Symbol of Divine Light is highly and unreservedly recommended for personal, mosque, community, and academic library Islamic History collections and supplemental studies reading lists.”
Midwest Book Review



“The author is a scholar and architect with rare qualifications … [who] brings his intimate knowledge of Islamic art and architecture, combined with knowledge of traditional metaphysics and symbolism in general, to bear upon a central feature of Islamic sacred art as it is related to the famous Light Verse of the Quran.… Stone is to be congratulated on producing a major new work in the field of Islamic art seen traditionally and from its own perspective, yet expressed in a very readable language in a text to which numerous instructive and illuminative illustrations have been added.”
—Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University, author of Islamic Art and Spirituality and Knowledge and the Sacred



“An excellently researched, beautifully presented, and timely book [that] will become the standard text for Islamic students for many years to come on this subject.… This book is light and contains references to such important illuminated twentieth- and twenty-first century figures as Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, René Guénon, Martin Lings, Annemarie Schimmel, and the Dalai Lama. The photographs and reproductions alone raise the publication into the realms of Beauty.”
—Keith Critchlow, President of the Temenos Academy, author of Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach


Contents of “Symbol of Divine Light”


Preface


I.   Symbolism of Light and the Lamp

1.   The Verse of Light

Koranic Exegesis

2.   Symbolism

Light

Light in the Islamic Doctrines of Creation

Muhammad as the Embodiment of Light

Light and the Mystery of the Veils

The Symbolism of Light in the Judeo-Christian Traditions

The Symbolism of Light in Other Religious Traditions

Niche

The Cave

The Mihrab

The Prayer Niche and the Virgin Mary

Etymology of the Word Mishkāh

Lamp

The Oil Lamp in Religions around the World

Glass

Oil

Olive Oil for Food

Olive Oil for Anointing

Olive Oil for Lamps

The Symbolism of Oil

Tree

3.   Commentaries on the Verse of Light

Al-Ghazālī

Mullā Ṣadrā

Dārā Shikūh

Shaykh Maḥmūd Shabistarī

Ṣafī ‘Alī Shāh Ni‘matullāhī

Abū Bakr Sirāj al-Dīn

Frithjof Schuon

Other Interpretations

4.   The Verse of Light in Islamic Art and Architecture

II. History of the Lamp

5.   The Historical Context

References in the Early Islamic Traditions

6.   Historical Development of the Mosque Lamp

Development of the Glass Lamp

Early Glass Lamps

Mamluk Glass

Ottoman Glass

Rock Crystal Lamps

Development of the Metalwork Lamp

Fragments of Earliest Islamic Lamps

Tenth-Century Lamp in David Collection

Great Lamp of al-Mu‘izz

Lamp from Umayyad Mosque, Damascus

Lamp from Konya

Lamp from Dome of the Rock

Mamluk Lamps

Post-Mamluk Islamic Metalwork

A Contemporary Design based on Traditional Examples

Larger, More Complex Types of Chandelier

Lamp from Mosque of the Alhambra

Diverse Lamp Types

Regional Variations

Later Lamp Types

Opaque "Lamps"

Development of the Ceramic Lamp

Hanging ornaments

The Form of Iznik Mosque Lamps

7.   How Would Early Mosque Lamps Have Looked?

8.   The Mosque Lamp in the Contemporary Context

9.   The Mosque Lamp Motif in Islamic Art and Architecture

10.   Conclusions


Notes

List of Illustrations

Bibliography

Biographical Note

Index




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