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The Arabesque Leaf Scroll

Heba Nayel Barakat
Dr Heba Nayel Barakat is head of the Curatorial Affairs Department at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM), where she supervises
the refurbishment
of the museum’s permanent galleries, researches artefacts
in the collection, and supervises exhibitions
in the museum’s special galleries and abroad. Before joining IAMM, she worked at the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, Cairo as a Project Manager.
The Arabesque Leaf Scroll
Arabesque is a stylised vegetal motif that emanates from a rhythmic perpetual leaf scroll. Its leaves bifurcate, leading their tips to transform into branches that replicate additional leaves. Its movement, symbolism and adaptability made the arabesque leaf scroll one of the major forms of decorative ornament in Islamic art and crafts. This talk narrates the story of the “Arabesque” using historical sources from the 16th and 17th centuries. Through showcasing arabesque forming various designs on museum artefacts, it also aims at drawing attention to the subject as it is a vital part of the Islamic decorative vocabulary of the Muslim World.

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