leighton and the midddle east



Academic painting and sculpture - Usually European art that followed rules and regulations as laid down by art training academies in the 18th & 19th centuries.

Anthropology - considered one of the natural sciences, dealing with the study of humanity.

Arts and Crafts movement - an artistic and social movement in the UK between 1880-1910, that promoted contemporary and historic handmade craft and design over that of industrial production.

British Empire - the geographical, economic and social control of the UK in other parts of the world between the 1500s - 1940s.

Byzantine - refers to having origins in the eastern Greek speaking Roman Empire from 400s - 1453.

Capitals - in architecture, the capital is the crowning section of a column.

Classical painting - paintings that depict scenes from history, mythology or religion.

Colonialism - the domination of one country by another.

Post-colonialism - refers to how previously colonised states develop a sense of identity after independence.

The Enlightenment - a scientific and philosophical movement in 18th century Europe and America that questioned the role of religion and traditional rule by monarchies.

Ethnography - related to anthropology but consists of detailed research carried out on human cultures.

Faience - tin glazed pottery.

Figural - art or craft illustrating human or animal form.

The Great Exhibition - an international exhibition of arts and crafts held in London in 1851.

Hadith - the oral stories relating to the life and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad recorded after his death.

Harem - private living quarters for women in some middle and far eastern homes.

Idolatry - a word used by various religions to describe the act of seeing spiritual significance in statues, sculptures, icons etc.

Imam - an Islamic leader.

Industrialisation - the transformation of a society from a largely agricultural foundation to industry.

Islamic Golden Age - a period of great achievement in the sciences, arts and technology in the Islamic world from the 8th - 13th centuries.

Iznik - a city in Turkey that gives its name to finely made ceramics.

Lusterware - porcelain or ceramics with a metallic sheen.

Madrassa - any type of school in the Muslim world, religious and secular.

Maqsura - screened area near mihrab usually reserved for the ruler or his representative.

mihrab - recessed space in wall that faced Mecca.


minaret - tall towers within mosques that identify the building and used for the call to prayer.

minbar - stepped pulpit used by preachers.

Mashrabiyah - intricately carved woodwork.

Mosaic - the use of small pieces of coloured glass, stone or other material for decoration.

Muqurnas - a construction device unique to Islamic architecture. A 3D pattern effect in ceilings that acts as a link between a square base and a dome.

Nubia - a region in the south of Egypt and northern Sudan.


Odalisque - originates from the Turkish 'odaliq' for a chambermaid. The French form of the word 'odalisque' used by 19th and 20th century painters to portray sexualised images of non-European women.

Orient/Oriental - a western (European & American) term historically and now contentiously used to refer to the Middle and Far East and the inhabitants of these regions. Originates from the Latin 'oriens' meaning east.

Orientalism - the study or interest in the cultures of the Middle and Far East. The positive and negative aspects of this interest are still debated today.

Ottoman Empire - a succession of Turkish dynasties that ruled most of southeastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East from 1299-1922.

Persia - the ancient name for Iran.

Pre-Raphaelite Painting - paintings produced by a group of young artists who called themselves 'The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood' in 1848. The claimed they were trying to emulate the great artists before the time of Raphael (1483-1520), hence the name Pre-Raphaelite.

Quran - Islam's holy book.

The Renaissance - a period of great achievement in the sciences, arts and technology in Europe from the 14th - 17th centuries.

Sharia Law - Islamic religious law that is drawn from the Quran, the Hadith and centuries of debate and interpretation.

Ulama - Muslim legal scholars in religious and secular fields.


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