“FIGURAL REPRESENTATIONS IN THE ARABIC MAGICAL TRADITION”
Christopher Braun, University of Zurich
Part of the Silsila fall 2018 Lecture Series, Matters of Mediation/Bodies of Devotion
It has often been asserted that medieval Islamic art was shaped by an aversion towards figural representations. However, in the light of a wide range of extant figurative art, the pervasiveness of a strict aniconic approach in medieval Islamicate societies has been called into question. This paper will shed light on instantiations of figural representations in Arabic manuscripts on magic. It aims to highlight the role of schematic “non-professional” illustrations in this kind of literature and to demonstrate the broad spectrum of visual practices in the Arabic magical tradition.