Photograph of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 24 September 2007 - Moushira/Wikimedia Commons
CAIRO – 20 March 2018: The Bibliotheca Alexandrina's Islamic Civilization Studies Program has joined with the House of Wisdom in China to publish a book on the history of Islamic Art in China, titled "Islamic Art in China".
Written by Yang Guiping with translations by Ahmed Amin, the book examines the history of Islam in China, with a focus on the artistic and architectural monuments they constructed, alongside other elements of belief such as rituals. The book thus serves as an excellent introduction to anyone unfamiliar with Islamic art in China, and is divided into three chapters along with an epilogue concluding the book.
Chinese Muslims have existed in China for centuries, but have rarely been the topic of much academic focus. Existing all across the country, these Chinese Muslims have developed a unique tradition of Islamic Art that combines elements of native Chinese culture to create something unmistakably new, and just a part of Chinese heritage as anything else.
According to Islam.org, Islam entered China during the Tang and Song Dynasties of 618-1279 AD, through two silk roads on land and sea that connected China with Central Asia and the Middle East. The many Muslims who arrived through trade settled down and married the locals, with their children being the first Chinese Muslims.
The book's first chapter examines the architecture of Chinese mosques, particularly on the way they were ornamented, while the second chapter focuses on China's versions of the khanqah, domes, mausoleum and shrine. The final chapter is focused around calligraphy and its use in the religious manuscripts, alongside studies of Chinese Islamic pottery, and a look at how the artistic and architectural elements have evolved throughout the ages.
"Islamic Art in China" then concludes with a brief timeline of China's history, up until the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949.