Material Culture of Religion: New Approaches to Functionality in Islamic Objects

Bagli H.

DESIGN JOURNAL, vol.18, no.3, pp.305-325, 2015 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 18 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14606925.2015.1059598
  • Journal Name: DESIGN JOURNAL
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.305-325
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Religious artefacts are usually evaluated in the light of good-old symbolism rather than functionality. This makes these artefacts perceived as objects alienated to the contemporary paradigm of design in its classical sense the outcome of the formula 'form follows function'. However, symbolism is not sufficient to explain the material culture of religious objects, because they mostly refer to specific practices and rituals. In this situation there is a strong need to go beyond purely symbolic patterns and have a fresh look at the issue of functionality and design.