Are there any pre-Islamic statues in middle east which were spared and preserved by medieval Muslim dynasties?

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,935
Canary Islands-Spain
#11
Lot of reliefs through ancient Arabia and the Middle East were saved becuse they were forgotten or left in isolated places. I have no info about statues surviving in key areas or cities like Baghdad or Cairo

Aside of the obvious examples of ancient Egypt or Sumer, some places show remarkable images of pre-Islamic deities. For example, in Hatra, the three Semitic goddess

Zenobia: Empress of the East: ELEGY FOR HATRA (Part III: Goddesses and Putative Priestesses)

 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
4,841
#12
Muslim rulers weren't necessarily more fundamentalist than Christian rulers at the time. Mileage could vary though.

Christianity can also be, and occasionally has been, interpreted as in need to prohibit imagery like that:
Byzantine Iconoclasm - Wikipedia

The present politicized forms of fundamentalist Islam is not some kind of historical norm. It's just presented like it by some, while disregarding actual history.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,935
Canary Islands-Spain
#13
Islam is iconoclastic (on people and animals) by definition, opposite to Christianism. In fact, the iconoclastic wave, particularly strong in eastern areas of the Byzantine Empire, has been linked to the rise of Islam.

Christianism has been furiously iconoclast on many occasions, for example in the 4th-5th century. But this was basically against non-Christian icons.

On the other hand, it is true modern Islamic fundamentalism is, well, modern and not a revival of a past society; but you'll be wrong if you think it is the first one. Oftenly and in a regular occurence, extreme fundamentalists rise from inside the Islamic world to purge the world from deviations. And this happened since very early.

The very first fundamentalist were Muhammad and the first Muslims from Arabia, who started a massive campaign of images destruction in the areas they conquered
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
4,841
#14
You're over-interpreting that I would somehow be unaware of prior periods of fundamentalism and iconoclasm in Islam. (As I said, mileage varied.)

There's no actual prohibition in the Quran. There are in the Hadiths. As a consequence the question of a depiction has always been a contested one in Islam, and that is a matter of recorded history. But "iconoclastic by definition"... That's a more radical interpretation.

Judaism and Christianity might as well be called iconoclastic by definition then. It's in the ten commandments either way. How it actually worked out historically also varied. Protestantism certainly went quite far in its iconoclastic tendencies in the 16th c., as a matter of reviving the Old Testament as its central religious text on equal footing with the New.

And Islam certainly has produced a rather stunning amount of pictoral art for being iconoclastic by defintion. Including of the prophet himself.
1548521035881.png
 
Oct 2015
782
India
#15
There is something parallel, not exactly in Middle East, which I can cite. Once I listed all architectural/sculptural remains with their photos for Indian subcontinent (including Pakistan) century-wise for a research paper.

The pattern which emerged for Pakistan was surprising. First Islamic conquest in Pakistan was in 712 CE in Sindh. Complete Pakistan was conquered by Muslim kings by around 1200 CE, after which they made conquests in present-day India (there were only raids in India before c. 1200 CE).

In these 500 years from 712-1200 CE one can be sure than several Muslim monuments must have been built by the Muslim kings. However, today ruins/remains/structure of not even one monument from these 500 years are available. An exception is perhaps one rectangular platform made of stone-tiles / stones found near Thatta which Pakistan Archaeology Dept says is the first mosque which was built in c. 712 by Mohd Bin Kasim, the first conqueror of Pakistan. However, this identification is doubtful. It is not based on any archaeological evidence, just some statement as to where the mosque was said to have been built.

The point I am making is that till around 1200 CE, Islamic polity did not allow even Islamic structures of a competing Islamic sects or kings to stand.

Generalizing it, one can say that monuments lying in disuse were left untouched, but all existing/live monuments were razed in conquest. That is we find the items mentioned by @Frank81 in his post 11.


[1] First mosque in South Asia lies in ‘ruins’
 
May 2017
1,195
Syria
#16
Certainly, the artifacts from Palmyra are a wonderful example of this

The 11 feet tall Lion of Allat and the gazelle it guards


Relief of a female deity (Allat?) sitting with her servant and two animal companions

Baalshamin accompanied by a lunar deity and a solar diety

Yarhai's tomb

Allat-Minerva of south Syria

al-Uzza

And many others
 
Apr 2018
112
India
#17
The point I am making is that till around 1200 CE, Islamic polity did not allow even Islamic structures of a competing Islamic sects or kings to stand.

@Frank81 in his post 11.


[1] First mosque in South Asia lies in ‘ruins’
Sir I think what you say was a phenomenon typical of this region. I say this because a lot of Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumeria, Akkadian and other associated sites survived under full view of more than a millenia of Muslim rule. The same can be said about the Sphinx and the Pyramids (Although destroying them wouldn't have been economically and politically feasible) of Egypt.

I found on Wikipedia these interesting passages on the pages of the Sphinx and the Church of Holy Sepulchre respectively -

1) The Arab historian al-Maqrīzī, writing in the 15th century, attributes the loss of the nose to iconoclasm by Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr—a Sufi Muslim from the khanqah of Sa'id al-Su'ada—in AD 1378, upon finding the local peasants making offerings to the Sphinx in the hope of increasing their harvest. Enraged, he destroyed the nose, and was later hanged for vandalism.[47] Al-Maqrīzī describes the Sphinx as the "talisman of the Nile" on which the locals believed the flood cycle depended.[48]

2)
Damage and destruction (614–1009)
This building was destroyed by fire in May of 614 when the Sassanid Empire, under Khosrau II,[10] invaded Jerusalem and captured the True Cross. In 630, the Emperor Heraclius rebuilt the church after recapturing the city. After Jerusalem came under Arab rule, it remained a Christian church, with the early Muslim rulers protecting the city's Christian sites, prohibiting their destruction or use as living quarters. A story reports that the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab visited the church and stopped to pray on the balcony; but at the time of prayer, he turned away from the church and prayed outside. He feared that future generations would misinterpret this gesture, taking it as a pretext to turn the church into a mosque. Eutychius added that Umar wrote a decree prohibiting Muslims from praying at this location. The building suffered severe damage due to an earthquake in 746.[16]

Early in the ninth century, another earthquake damaged the dome of the Anastasis. The damage was repaired in 810 by Patriarch Thomas. In the year 841, the church suffered a fire. In 935, the Orthodox Christians prevented the construction of a Muslim mosque adjacent to the Church. In 938, a new fire damaged the inside of the basilica and came close to the rotunda. In 966, due to a defeat of Muslim armies in the region of Syria, a riot broke out, which was followed by reprisals. The basilica was burned again. The doors and roof were burnt, and the Patriarch John VII was murdered.[citation needed]

On 18 October 1009, Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the complete destruction of the church as part of a more general campaign against Christian places of worship in Palestine and Egypt.[c] The damage was extensive, with few parts of the early church remaining, and the roof of the rock-cut tomb damaged. Some partial repairs followed.[17] Christian Europe reacted with shock and expulsions of Jews, serving as an impetus to later Crusades.[18][19]

Reconstruction (11th century)
In wide-ranging negotiations between the Fatimids and the Byzantine Empire in 1027–28, an agreement was reached whereby the new Caliph Ali az-Zahir (Al-Hakim's son) agreed to allow the rebuilding and redecoration of the Church.[20] The rebuilding was finally completed with the financing at a huge expense by Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos and Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople in 1048.[21] As a concession, the mosque in Constantinople was re-opened and the khutba sermons were to be pronounced in az-Zahir's name.[20] Muslim sources say a by-product of the agreement was the recanting of Islam by many Christians who had been forced to convert under Al-Hakim's persecutions. In addition, the Byzantines, while releasing 5,000 Muslim prisoners, made demands for the restoration of other churches destroyed by Al-Hakim and the re-establishment of a Patriarch in Jerusalem. Contemporary sources credit the emperor with spending vast sums in an effort to restore the Church of the Holy Sepulchre after this agreement was made.[20] Despite the Byzantines spending vast sums on the project, "a total replacement was far beyond available resources. The new construction was concentrated on the rotunda and its surrounding buildings: the great basilica remained in ruins."[17] The rebuilt church site consisted of "a court open to the sky, with five small chapels attached to it."[22] The chapels were to the east of the court of resurrection, where the wall of the great church had been. They commemorated scenes from the passion, such as the location of the prison of Christ and of his flagellation, and presumably were so placed because of the difficulties of free movement among shrines in the streets of the city. The dedication of these chapels indicates the importance of the pilgrims' devotion to the suffering of Christ. They have been described as 'a sort of Via Dolorosa in miniature'... since little or no rebuilding took place on the site of the great basilica. Western pilgrims to Jerusalem during the eleventh century found much of the sacred site in ruins."[17] Control of Jerusalem, and thereby the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, continued to change hands several times between the Fatimids and the Seljuk Turks (loyal to the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad) until the arrival of the Crusaders in 1099.[23]


Would very much like to have an opinion.
 
Oct 2013
12,941
Europix
#18
The question popped into my mind after reading this news of 2001 in which Taliban destroyed statues of Kabul Museum Taliban destroys Kanishka statue
Well, when You read about historical statue/painting/representation (like the Kanishka statue) in a Muslim zone destroyed recently, You have an example of art/artifacts that were spared/preserved by medieval Islam, don't You think?
 
Aug 2014
1,032
pakistan
#19
Well, when You read about historical statue/painting/representation (like the Kanishka statue) in a Muslim zone destroyed recently, You have an example of art/artifacts that were spared/preserved by medieval Islam, don't You think?
The Kanishka statue was excavated by Western archaeologists. Are there any example of Muslims excavating and preserving pre-Islamic ancient statues during medieval period?
 
Oct 2013
12,941
Europix
#20
The Kanishka statue was excavated by Western archaeologists. Are there any example of Muslims excavating and preserving pre-Islamic ancient statues during medieval period?
I'd say nobody excavated and preserved ancient statues during medieval period, Azad.

It's why Greek statues parts ended as columns in Byzantine underground cisterns, for example.
 
Likes: Azad67