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Installation Art on Kashan Mosque ‘Mihrab’
Art And Culture

Installation Art on Kashan Mosque ‘Mihrab’

A sculpture and installation art exhibition by artist Abbas Akbari, presenting new perspectives of an 800-year-old work of art, is underway at Aun Art Gallery.
The exhibit shows a ceramic collection titled ‘Stone Paste’ in addition to a new version of ‘mihrab,’ (a niche in the wall of a mosque, at the point nearest to Mecca, towards which Muslims face to pray), of Meydan Mosque in the historic city of Kashan, Isfahan Province, under the title ‘Eastern Invocation’, ISNA reported.
The inauguration ceremony of the exhibition last week was attended by Faramarz Darvish, celebrated Iranian architect, Arthur Mora, skilled Spanish ceramist, Mohamed Hachicha, head of Tunisia’s Center of Ceramics and several Iranian and foreign artists.
Inspired by Iranian culture and history, just as his other works, Akbari, 44, recreated a customized and contemporary version, trying to present a different ‘mihrab’ “to compensate for the absence of the original one in the mosque.”
The mihrab was in its original place until the last century, but it is now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
In his current collection, Akbari represents Iranian history and identity through conceptual components rather than visual elements. The mihrab design highlights the artist’s focus on pre-Islamic era mosques in a general framework of “invocation in Iranian culture.”
 Furthermore, five sculptures with a mihrab-like structure, created out of metal and ceramic in different colors, symbolize serenity required for prayer, in both pre-Islamic and Islamic eras.

  Catalogue Unveiled
The catalogue of the exhibition, unveiled at the event, is also designed as an azure tile, common to Kashan.
In an introduction to the exhibition, Akbari says: “Experts should study ancient works of art and artists should interpret and extend their domain for the immortality of the works.”
A scientific research paper by Prof. Marcus Reiter, Iranologist and cerebrated expert on Islamic art, is also attached to the catalogue, explaining the history of the mihrab along with pictures. The catalogue is a historical reference to the mihrab of Meydan Mosque.
The exhibition will be on view through December 15 at the gallery at No. 40, Seoul St., Sheykh Bahaei Sq., Tehran.

  Oldest Structures
Meydan Mosque is one of the oldest structures in Kashan. The original structure possibly belonged to the Seljuq era (a Turkish dynasty ruling Persia in 10 AD), but it was destroyed by Mongol invaders. Later it was rebuilt and repaired by Khaje Emad ed-Din. An inscription in the old mihrab says it was built in 1226 AD by Hassan ibn-e Arabschah.
The mosque in its past glory had high terraces, a splendid inner dome space, large yard, ‘Shabestan’ and ‘Howz’ halls, but despite several renovations, most parts of the mosque are now in ruins. Its special social and political importance can be seen from many inscriptions on its portal which are in the form of decrees on regulations in buying and selling goods and food at approved prices of that time, and the prohibition of gambling and un-Islamic acts.
The mosque portal is striking because of its pure Iranian architectural techniques.

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