Faraj Abou (Iraq, 1921-1984) Al Nouri Mosque, Mosul

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Lot 51*
Faraj Abou
(Iraq, born 1921)
Al Nouri Mosque, Mosul

£ 7,000 - 10,000
US$ 9,100 - 13,000
Faraj Abou (Iraq, born 1921)
Al Nouri Mosque, Mosul
oil on canvas, framed
signed "Faraj Abbo" and dated "1968" in Arabic (lower right), executed in 1968
80 x 55cm (31 1/2 x 21 5/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Acquired directly from the artist's family.

    "In the early morning, I climbed up to the roof of my house and was stunned to see the Hadba minaret had gone. "I broke into tears. I felt I had lost a son of mine." - Resident of Mosul

    The Great Mosque of al-Nuri a mosque in Mosul, Iraq. It was famous for its leaning minaret, which gave the city its nickname "the hunchback" (الحدباء al-Ḥadbāˈ). Tradition holds that the mosque was first built in the late 12th century, although it underwent many renovations over the years. Outlasting various hostile invading forces in its history of 850 years, the mosque was blown up as well as the cylindrical portion of the minaret, which collapsed on 21 June 2017, during the Battle of Mosul.

    When the cylindrical minaret was built it stood 45 metres (148 ft) high, with seven bands of decorative brickwork in complex geometric patterns ascending in levels towards the top. By the time the traveler Ibn Battuta visited in the 14th century it was already listing and had acquired its nickname. The design of the minaret follows a form originally developed in neighboring Iran and Central Asia and shares similarities with other minarets in northern Iraq, such as those in Mardin, Sinjar and Arbil.[9
    According to local tradition (which ignores chronology), the minaret gained its tilt after the Prophet Muhammad passed overhead while ascending to heaven. The minaret bowed itself in reverence but could only regain its balance after its top joint had been kinked in the opposite direction.

    According to local Christian tradition, however, the mosque's tilt was due to its bowing towards the tomb of the Virgin Mary, reputedly located near Arbil.[t is also nicknamed by some as Iraq's 'Tower of Pisa', as the mosque's signature tilt was compared to that of the Torre di Pisa in Italy.

    ISIS were named as responsible for the destruction of the Great Mosque in a move to destroy it rather than let it go from their hold. It had held symbolic importance to ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as it was used in 2014 by the militants to self-declare their "caliphate". ISIS's black flag had been flying on the 45-metre minaret since June 2014, after their militants surged across Iraq and Syria seizing territory.
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