Taswir – an introduction to a scholarly debate on figurative representation in Sunni-Islam
In recent times Taswir has been associated with a debate amongst Islamic scholars regarding the use of figurative representation in visual communication. Why would this scholarly debate be a concern within communications today? We are living in the age of modern media, and, consequently, visual messages are rapidly distributed to beholders with a variety of cultural backgrounds. An increasing number of us master the latest means of communication, but our knowledge of differences in visual traditions has not kept up with our technological skills. This article focuses on features of Islamic visual tradition that most likely are unfamiliar to a secular-minded western-oriented public. At the same time, these features, at regular intervals, are rising to the surface in our open and world-embracing communication setting. The aims of the article are twofold: first, it gives the reader an idea of how conceptions of the visual are tested and consolidated within an Islamic traditional context; Second, it places Taswir in a global contemporary context, in a position that displays the need to pose questions about competence and sensibility suited for future communication.
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