Traditional Islamic wood carving is a dying tradition, according to Mohammad Mohdar Anwar. Anwar is the founder of Mahajati, a company dedicated to preserving wood carving and making art more accessible at the same time. Anwar and his company are doing their utmost effort to promote the beauty of traditional Islamic wood carving, from their decorative wall pieces in full or partial 3D, to a large scale model of Mecca, as My Modern Met details:
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The main collections for sale include mubkhars, or incense burners, and decorative wall pieces that are either fully 3D or partially 3D with a flat back. While these are popular, Mahajati’s greatest artistic achievement (which has garnered them global attention) is a large-scale model of Makkah al-Mukarramah, or Mecca. The photos of their process show artisans working at an impressive scale with unusual angles as buildings seem to peel off of a single piece of wood. Detailed façade work and rough textures across the extruded surfaces further help the piece stand out, and showcases the wide range of methods used to complete the composition.
The Makkah model is proof that though this art is traditional and has a long history, this does not mean that the work is static. The work is constantly changing and improving with more intricate and unique pieces constantly being produced. “Our artisans devote lots of time to learning and exploring,” Anwar explains. “In the pursuit of perfection, they find their voice to express emotions and ideas through shapes, colors, and textures on wood.” Mahajati’s founder goes on to say that their products are different from ordinary wall art. “Every piece you purchase is not only an art, but it has identity, meaning, and purpose.”
Image via My Modern Met