Visualizing Belief and Piety in Iranian Shiism

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Bloomsbury Academic, Dec 2, 2010 - Art - 299 pages
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The representation of prophets and saints in Islam is erroneously considered nonexistent by many scholars of Islam, Muslims, and the general public. The issue is often dealt with superficially without attention to its deep roots in piety and religiosity. Visualizing Belief and Piety in Iranian Shiism offers new understanding of Islamic iconography and Muslim perspectives on the use of imageries in ritual contexts and devotional life.
Combining iconographic and ethnographic approaches, Ingvild Flaskerud introduces and analyzes imageries (tile-paintings, posters and wall-hangings), ritual contexts and interviews with male and female local viewers to discuss the representation, reception and function of imageries in contemporary Iranian Shia environments. This book presents the argument that images and decorative programmes have stimulating qualities to mentally evoke the saints in the minds of devotees and inspire their recollection, transforming emotions and stimulating cultic behaviours. Visualization and seeing are significant to the dissemination of religious knowledge, the understanding of spiritual and ethical values, the promotion of personal piety, and functions as modes of venerating God and the saints.

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About the author (2010)

Ingvild Flaskerud is Post-doctoral Fellow at Uni Global, the University of Bergen, Norway.

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