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Page from an Album of Calligraphies of Prophetic Traditions (Hadith), ca. 1500; Ottoman Signed by Hamdullah ibn Mustafa Dede Turkey (Istanbul)

Arts of the book – 1600-1800

The technical aspects of calligraphy, painting, and bookbinding are important facets of the study of Islamic art. Treatises by sixteenth-century Persian authors Qazi Ahmed and Sadiqi Beq are the major sources on the…

Patio de la Acequia

The Symbolism of the Islamic Garden

THE IDEA of paradise as a garden is a very ancient one, pre-dating the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by centuries. Within the Islamic context the key elements of flowing…

Vegetal Patterns in Islamic Art

With the exception of the garden and its usual reference to paradise, vegetal motifs and patterns in Islamic art are largely devoid of symbolic meaning. Vegetal patterns employed alone or in combination with…

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Paper and Ink Prayer Mat

Made to fit the size of an actual Muslim prayer carpet, this piece is drawn only with black Bic pencils. Painstakingly detailed, it explores different ways and patterns to create a unique whole…

Qur'an case, Nasrid period (1232–1492), second half of 15th century. Spain

Qur’an case, Nasrid period (1232–1492)

Qur’an case, Nasrid period (1232–1492), second half of 15th century. Spain This small Qur’an case, a quintessential devotional and amuletic object, is inscribed with the Nasrid dynastic emblem: “There is no conqueror but…

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Amulets and Talismans from the Islamic World

A talisman is any object that is imbued with protective powers, and all cultures have manifestations of such objects. In the world of Islam, they bear Qur’anic inscriptions, astrological signs, and religious narratives….

Archway from the Darb-i Imam shrine, Isfahan, Iran (1453 C.E.) with two overlapping girih patterns. Image courtesy of K. Dudley and M. Elliff

Medieval Islamic Mosaics and Modern Maths

by Paul J. Steinhardt The swirling Arabesque ceramic tiles used in medieval Islamic mosaics and architecture were produced using geometry not understood in the West until the 1970s, a new study suggests.  …

Introduction to Muslim Art and Ornaments

This short article is taken from the full article which is available here as a PDF file Muslim art differs from the art of other cultures in the form and material as well…

The Evolution of Style

‘One would enquire in vain for the masters who brought this system to its flowering or those who later opened up new ways for its development. This art is totally anonymous and it…

Doris Dukes Shangri La – Center for Islamic Arts and Culture

The collection at Shangri La consists of about 3,500 objects, within which are several distinct sub-collections that shed light on Islam, Islamic cultures and Islamic art, among other traditions. Below are links to…

Early Medieval Dynasties in The West: Fatimids, Ayyubids

As Abbasid authority weakened, the Shi’ite Fatimid dynasty (909−1171)—claiming descent from Fatima, daughter of the Prophet and wife of Ali—rose to power in North Africa. They expanded into Egypt and Syria, and in…

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An Italian Portrait of Mehmet–the Conqueror

Invented in Iraq in the ninth century, the luster technique enjoyed long and wide popularity. Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Islamic-controlled Spain all developed important centers for luster production—and so eventually did Renaissance Italy….

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