The Danish PR-crisis sparked by Jyllands-Posten’s Mohammed cartoons is still lingering: according to an Egyptian government poll “Denmark is [considered] one of Egypt’s worst enemies, second only after Israel.” (source: BBC) Sixty percent of the respondents agreed that Denmark is hostile to Egypt.
The protests against the caricatures were not only aroused by the cartoon’s supposed disrespect towards Mohammed, Islam, or Muslims, but also by the strong tradition of aniconism in some branches of Islam. Especially in Sunni Islam, the representation of living beings and particularly of Mohammed is considered not-done.
That in the history of Islam representing Mohammed hasn’t always been prohibited, is admirably shown by Dorothy King in her series “Today’s Image of Mohammed”(NB the link refers to all Dorothy’s posts labelled Mohammed; as such the net is cast a little too wide!). Most of the images are from manuscripts illuminated in the sixteenth century in Tabriz, in present-day Iran, but she also shows images from other ages and places. All images are accompanied by some remarks on the depicted scene, techniques used, origins, and artistic influences. Both the images and the commentary are very tasteful – something one cannot say of the cartoons!
On the image I present here “not only is Mohammed’s face fully depicted, but the Kaaba, which he is re-dedicating, is also shown” (quote and image: PhDiva).