The Arabesque of Script and Metaphor in Islamic Art

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of script as an aesthetic device is longstanding in Islamic art. Indeed, one of the earliest forms of Islamic art are terracotta oil lamps with text inscribed on their surface.2 These inscriptions are not merely decorative but also reference the light emitted from the lamps as a metaphor for revelation. As I will show, the use of script in Islamic art is not only meant to delight the eye; it is, moreover, a cognitively faceted aesthetic device. Following an overview of script as an aesthetic device in Islamic art, I survey its legacy in the contemporary art world of the Middle East.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-140
Number of pages13
JournalReview of Middle East Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 12 2022


  • Concrete Poetry
  • Islamic Art
  • Metaphor
  • Script
  • Shadow Art

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Arabesque of Script and Metaphor in Islamic Art'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this