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A book entitled “Colour, Light and Wonder in Islamic art” was recently published by Saqi Books in London, in which his author, Idries Trevathan, examines the language of colour in Islamic art and architecture in dialogue with its aesthetic contexts, offering insights into the pre-modern Muslim experience of interpreting colour.

The book presents the Shah’s Mosque in Isfahan, Iran, which was built in the seventeenth century and is one of the finest examples of colour-use on a grand scale. Trevathan discusses examines the philosophical and mystical traditions that formed the mosque’s backdrop. He shows how careful combinations of colour and design proportions in Islamic patterns expresses knowledge beyond that experienced in the corporeal world, offering another language with which to know and experience God. Colour thus becomes a spiritual language, calling for a re-consideration of how we read Islamic aesthetics.

Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, said: “This book is an important contribution to the study of Islamic art, revealing the deeper symbolic significance of the use of colour and light. Idries Trevathan brings out with admirable clarity the metaphysical and cosmological meanings of colour and light beyond their decorative function”.