Shiite Connotations on Islamic Artifacts from the Fatimid period (358-567 A.H/ 969-1171 A.D) Preserved in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo

Mohamed El Barbary, Aisha Al Tohamy, Ehab Ali

Abstract


The Fatimid, who were Ismaili Shiaa, ruled to Egypt between (358-567 A.H/ 969-1171 A.D) for about 208 years. They left a lot of artifacts, which are recently preserved in the Museum of Islamic Arts in Cairo, including: wooden memorable Mihrabs (Niches), gravestones, coins, textiles and ceramics. These artifacts have been decorated with written, geometrical, botanical, animal and other patterns, which are mainly influenced by the Shiite doctrine as a part of their plan to promote for Shiism among Egyptians secretly and publicly.

However most of these patterns are common to be used as decorative themes is Islamic Art, they also have Shiite connotations related to the Shiite idea of “Zahir (Obvious) and Batin (Hidden)”, referring that every obvious meaning has a hidden meaning. So that, this study aims to illustrate the hidden meanings (connotations) of these patterns, depending on reviewing the literature of Shiite thoughts and believes. 


Keywords


Shiite Connotations, Fatimids, Fatimid Arts, Artifacts, Fatimid Ornaments, Zahir and Batin.

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