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"UNITY in multiplicity". This was a recurring theme at a recent conference titled "Islamic Art - Enlightened", organised by the Islamic Art Museum of Malaysia.
A gathering of the best of Islamic art experts in various fields, the participants consisted of people with varied interests in Islamic art.
To the layperson, the conference presented a very diverse definition of what is Islamic art.
Is it art by Muslims per se or is it art that strictly adheres to the principles of the sharia?
Although no definite answer was given, the speakers seemed to agree Islamic art comprise both categories - art by Muslims and that which strictly follows the sharia (Islamic rules) such as no figuratives, even if they are authored by non-Muslims.
Islamic art come in various forms - from calligraphy of Quranic verses to the miniatures and batik - and on different materials - from papyrus to glass.
As most Islamic art inspirations originate from the Quran, Dr Abdul Latiff Jassim Kanoo of the Beit Al-Quran of Bahrain appropriately presented a paper introducing the institution.
Kanoo said that the Beit Al-Quran was a unique Islamic international institute dedicated to the service of the Quran - inspired by the Islamic faith, the Quran and Islamic heritage - with a rich collection of Quranic manuscripts.