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Shebeke from National museum of history of Azerbaijan in Baku

Wood, glass, geometry – stained glass in Iran and Azerbaijan

In this article I am sharing my experience of visiting traditional stained glass workshops in Iran and Azerbaijan. I am not aware if this kind of craft is unique for the region I…

Qur'an Stand, Iran, 1360 A.D.

14th Century Qur’an Stand

14th Century Stand for a Qur’an, Iran or Central Asia, A.H. 761/A.D. 1360

A SAFAVID SILK, WOOL AND METAL-THREAD PRAYER RUG

A Safavid Silk and Wool Rug

  The inscriptions on this rug suggest that it may have been a diplomatic gift from the Safavid Persian court to that of the Ottoman Turks. Perhaps it was even given on the occasion…

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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…

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Splendid Suzanis

Suzani comes from the Persian word for “needle,” and the word refers to embroidered hangings or fabric coverings, generally a meter and a half wide (4-5′) but sometimes much more. The birthplace of suzanis…

Figure 1: A tracing of the Panr relief, an architectural fragment from Lower Swat, carved between the first and third centuries.

The Tenacity of Tradition: Art From the Valley of Swat

High in the rugged mountains of northwest Pakistan lies the Valley of Swat. The river of the same name runs through it. In ancient texts, the Swat River is called Suvastu, meaning “good dwelling…

Minbar (pulpit) formerly in the Qutubia mosque. From Cordoba, Spain, 1137, Almoravid period. Detail of the marquetry on the sides of the minbar. Cedar wood, ebony and ivory, H:3,86 m

The Masterpiece Minbar

Until relatively recent times, wooden furniture—in the sense of tables and chairs was little known in traditional Islamic societies. Throughout the warm and dry lands of North Africa, the Middle East, India and Central…

Made for the International Colonial Exhibition held in Amsterdam in 1883.

Carved stucco and stained glass window

Glazed windows of this type, both plain and decorative, are found in traditional buildings in Turkey and the Arab lands. They are usually set at a high level, over unglazed windows that are…

Building Crafts

Crafts In Islamic Architecture

Creativity in traditional Islamic crafts  At the risk of appearing to be quibbling over semantics, let me first of all state simply and clearly what I understand by the terms “creativity”, “traditional”, and…

The “Mantes” Carpet Northern Iran, second half of the 16th century Pile knotted in wool on cotton foundation, asymmetrical knot H. 7.83 m; W. 3.79 m Formerly in the Collégiale de Mantes Musée du Louvre, acquired 1913 OA 6610

Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Textile Art

In traditional Islamic society, textiles and dress played a significantly greater socio-cultural role than in the western world. A crucial item of furnishing in the Islamic world, the carpet served not merely as…

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,…

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Carpets from the Islamic World

Under the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal dynasties, carpet weaving was transformed from a minor craft based on patterns passed down from generation to generation into a statewide industry with patterns created in court…

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