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13. Pyxis, Cordova, Spain, 950-75 AD, Metropolitan Museum of Art.Tree of life composition

Biomorphic patterns in Islamic art – Tracing the origin

Islamic biomorphic patterns are usually called arabesques. The term ‘arabesque’ is relatively new; it came to Europe after Napoleon’s campaign in Africa. “In a broad sense of this term, the arabesque includes ornamentation…

Tile with the Great Mosque of Mecca

Tile with the Great Mosque of Mecca

The three lines of Arabic writing in the upper part of this large, ceramic wall tile are from the third chapter of the Qur’an, and exhort the Muslim faithful to make the pilgrimage…

Lamp detail

Mosque lamp with cloisonné enamel decoration

As early as the 9th century, a large number of products were made in China for export to the Islamic world. Porcelain and textiles were the most important trade goods, but refined works…

Photo by ben oït (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29713277@N02/4823605456/in/gallery-islamicheritage-72157629699521587/)

The Enamelled Glass, Mosque Lamps

Mosque lamps of glass, enamelled and often with gilding, survive in considerable numbers from the Islamic art of the Middle Ages, especially the 13th and 14th centuries, with Cairo in Egypt and Aleppo and Damascus in Syria as the most important centres of production. These are oil…

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The Farjam Collection of Islamic Art

The Farjam Collection is one of the most impressive privately-owned collections in the world today. Featuring Islamic and pre-Islamic art, Contemporary Middle-Eastern art and International Modern and Contemporary Art, the Collection is born…

Chinese Art

From Middle East to Middle Kingdom

In contrast, the appreciation of Chinese–Islamic works has been negligible. For collectors of traditional Chinese art, these works are not Chinese enough; for Islamic-art collectors, they seem too alien to be considered truly…

Exquisitely worked with filigree and granulation, two Yemeni amulet cases hark back to pre-Islamic folk traditions.

Silver Speaks

Throughout the Middle East, Silver, jewellery speaks about the lives of women and girls and the talents of artisans. It provides a window into social status, religion, regional identities and changing lives in…

Zillij in Fez

Zillij is an Islamic art that is based on learning, discipline, and faith. The geometric patterns reflect the Islamic belief that life is ordered by cosmic intelligence, even if people cannot always understand…

Design of the Ardabil Carpet (1539-1540)

The entire surface of the Ardabil carpet is covered by a single integrated design – an impressive feat in view of the great size of the carpet. The basic design is relatively simple,…

Khusrau Hunting: Page from a manuscript of the Khusrau and Shirin of Hatifi, dated 1498; Ottoman Turkey (probably Istanbul).

Art of the Ottomans (before 1600)

At the time of its foundation in the early fourteenth century, the Osmanli or Ottoman state was one among many small principalities that emerged as a result of the disintegration of the Seljuq sultanate…

Album leaf with a Shii invocation, 17th century

This leaf of fine nastaliq calligraphy was conceived as an artistic endeavor, in which the writing is integrated with the ornamental background. The decorative technique of marbleizing paper spread from Iran to Turkey…

Leaf from Futuh al-Haramain (Description of the Two Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina), mid-16th century; Ottoman Probably Turkey, Ink, colors, and gold on paper, 8 3/8 x 5 1/4 in. (21.3 x 13.3 cm)

Leaf from Futuh al-Haramain

(Description of the Two Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina) Futuh al-Haramain is an example of a genre of religious writing devoted to the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage. It serves as a guide to pilgrims…

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