Islamic Art

 

600 AD – Present

Islamic art is a 19th-century category given by art historians to art created by Islamic peoples living mainly in the Arabian peninsula, but in other countries that were ruled for a period by Islamic rulers. This is not to be confused with art that was created under the religion of Islam; it refers to the art by and for any religion that was created in lands whose dominant religion happened to Islam.

Islamic art was comprised of great architecture, calligraphy, glass, ceramics, painting, and textiles developed and influenced through a variety of sources. Islamic countries were major sources of trade and were on major trade routes. Persian, Chinese, and Central Asian cultures added to the styles and techniques of Islamic art.

Art History: Islamic Art Origins and Historical Importance:

The history of Islamic expansion is quite detailed and extensive and is a lengthy subject on its own. The beginnings of Islamic art are hard to distinguish from those of existing cultures at the time of the birth of Islam, but it is known that plant motif were popular.

Textiles

Islamic art -Textiles

Oriental carpets are known the world over as one of the greatest achievements of Islamic art and they are as popular today as they were in their inception. They are used in the religious practices of Muslims, and in the homes of people of other religions or no religion. The same patterns and techniques are not confined to rugs, but too many forms of textile from cushions to wall coverings and even as table cloths. While many representational copies are machine-made now, true Oriental carpets are hand-woven or hand-loomed in intricate designs in an array of bright colors.

“For hundreds of years Iranians have been migrating to many parts of the world. They took Islamic culture to other parts of the world and established it there.” – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Tiles and Mosaics

Islamic Art – Taj Mahal

Islamic artistry in architecture is not known only for domed ceilings and great works like the Dome of the Rock or the Taj Mahal, but for the rich mosaics and tile work within them. Mosaic and tile art were influenced by the mosaics of the Byzantine period and led to a centuries-long practice of crafting glazed tiles in bright and vivid colors, and a later technique of painting tiles before firing.

“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who have seen the Taj Mahal and love it and those who have not seen the Taj and love it.” – William J. Clinton

Some tiles are molded in relief to depict lettering, animals, or human figures and are part of a cohesive design that included other tiles shaped as stars that appeared intermittently amongst the reliefs. Another form of tiling, so to speak, was the preference of the Mughals to use parchin kari. This technique used semi-precious stones and jewels on inlaid panels and often depicted naturalistic elements such as florals. Examples can be seen at the Taj Mahal.

Calligraphy

Islamic art - Calligraphy

Islamic art – Calligraphy

Calligraphic trends in Islamic art include Quranic Art (calligraphy in painting or sculpture), Epigraphic Ware (inscriptions on pottery), Kufic and Naskh scripts (written on ceilings and domes), religious sayings on smaller secular objects (coins, small paintings, metalwork, and buildings), and the tughra of Ottomon Sultans (monograms).

Calligraphy was also used in texts, such as short poems or books of poetry, or on single sheets containing Qu’ranic verses.

The language of the calligraphy depended upon location and would be one of four: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or Urdu.

Painting and Illumination

Islamic art – illuminated manuscripts

Miniature paintings and illuminated manuscripts were amongst the highest achievements in visual art within Islamic nations.

Persian miniatures were a courtly art and they had a great influence on the art of miniatures in other nations. Compositions held more figures than previously seen, or seen outside the court, and subjects were free to be more secular in nature and more relaxed.

“The philosophical connection between the Islamic world and the West is much closer than I thought. Doubt did not begin with Descartes. We have this construction today that the West and Islam are entirely separate worlds. This is wrong.” – Tariq Ramadan

Illuminated manuscripts were not confined to religious texts and, in fact, the most prolific is dedicated to Persian poetry. Other subjects included autobiographies of rulers and military engagements. Later Chinese influence led to a different viewing perspective so that background scenes in illuminated illustrations show distance, scale, and height.

Glass Work

Islamic glass was the most prized glass of its day and was an object of desire for both the Chinese and the Europeans. This highly prized glass was decorated in relief and etching or was created from carved quartz crystal. Some glassmakers used color on smooth pieces.

Islamic Art Key Highlights

  • Even though this art is referred to as Islamic, the inclusion of secular elements and their forbiddance by Islamic clergy is a testament to this not actually being a religious art movement.
  • Calligraphers were the most cherished artists and were higher in the social strata than other types of artists.
  • The Hadiths forbade drinking or eating from vessels forged in gold or silver and also forbade the wearing of gold rings.
  • Miniatures were often collected in albums. Scenes of picnics, animals, idealized male and female figures or portraits featured prominently.

Islamic Art Top Works

  • Taj Mahal
  • Dome of the Rock
  • The Luck of Edenhall – 13th century glass beaker
  • Friday Mosque of Herat – Afghanistan
  • Khamsa of Nizami – Persian painting 1539

Art History Movements (Order by the period of origin)

Dawn of Man – BC 10

Paleolithic Art (Dawn of Man – 10,000 BC), Neolithic Art (8000 BC – 500 AD), Egyptian Art (3000 BC - 100 AD), Ancient Near Eastern Art (Neolithic era – 651 BC),  Bronze and Iron Age Art (3000 BC – Debated), Aegean Art (2800-100 BC), Archaic Greek Art (660-480 BC), Classical Greek Art (480-323 BC ), Hellenistic Art (323 BC – 27 BC), Etruscan Art (700 - 90 BC)

1st Century to 10th Century

Roman Art (500 BC – 500 AD), Celtic Art. Parthian and Sassanian Art (247 BC – 600 AD), Steppe Art (9000BC – 100 AD), Indian Art (3000 BC - current), Southeast Asian Art (2200 BC - Present), Chinese and Korean Art,  Japanese Art (11000 BC – Present),  Early Christian Art (260-525 AD,  Byzantine Art (330 – 1453 AD), Irish Art (3300 BC - Present), Anglo Saxon Art (450 – 1066 AD), Viking Art (780 AD-1100AD), Islamic Art (600 AD-Present)

10thCentury to 15th Century

Pre Columbian Art (13,000 BC – 1500 AD), North American Indian and Inuit Art (4000 BC - Present), African Art (),  Oceanic Art (1500 – 1615 AD), Carolingian Art (780-900 AD), Ottonian Art (900 -1050 AD), Romanesque Art (1000 AD – 1150 AD), Gothic Art (1100 – 1600 AD), The survival of Antiquity ()

Art History - 15th century onwards

Renaissance Style (1300-1700), The Northern Renaissance (1500 - 1615), Mannerism (1520 – 17th Century), The Baroque (1600-1700), The Rococo (1600-1700), Neo Classicism (1720 - 1830),  Romanticism (1790 -1890), Realism (1848 - Present), Impressionism (1860 - 1895), Post-Impressionism (1886 - 1904), Symbolism and Art Nouveau (1880 -1910), Fauvism , Expressionism (1898 - 1920), Cubism  . Futurism (1907-1928 )Abstract Art (1907 – Present Day), Dadasim,. Surrealism (1916 - 1970),. Latin American Art (1492 - Present, Modern American Art (1520 – 17th Century), Postwar European Art (1945 - 1970), Australian Art (28,000 BC - Present), South African Art (98,000 BC - Present)

The Most Loved Art Stories by Our Readers

 

Islamic Art  – Major Artworks

Art History Movements (Order by the period of origin)

Dawn of Man – BC 10

Paleolithic Art (Dawn of Man – 10,000 BC), Neolithic Art (8000 BC – 500 AD), Egyptian Art (3000 BC - 100 AD), Ancient Near Eastern Art (Neolithic era – 651 BC),  Bronze and Iron Age Art (3000 BC – Debated), Aegean Art (2800-100 BC), Archaic Greek Art (660-480 BC), Classical Greek Art (480-323 BC ), Hellenistic Art (323 BC – 27 BC), Etruscan Art (700 - 90 BC)

1st Century to 10th Century

Roman Art (500 BC – 500 AD), Celtic Art. Parthian and Sassanian Art (247 BC – 600 AD), Steppe Art (9000BC – 100 AD), Indian Art (3000 BC - current), Southeast Asian Art (2200 BC - Present), Chinese and Korean Art,  Japanese Art (11000 BC – Present),  Early Christian Art (260-525 AD,  Byzantine Art (330 – 1453 AD), Irish Art (3300 BC - Present), Anglo Saxon Art (450 – 1066 AD), Viking Art (780 AD-1100AD), Islamic Art (600 AD-Present)

10thCentury to 15th Century

Pre Columbian Art (13,000 BC – 1500 AD), North American Indian and Inuit Art (4000 BC - Present), African Art (),  Oceanic Art (1500 – 1615 AD), Carolingian Art (780-900 AD), Ottonian Art (900 -1050 AD), Romanesque Art (1000 AD – 1150 AD), Gothic Art (1100 – 1600 AD), The survival of Antiquity ()

Art History - 15th century onwards

Renaissance Style (1300-1700), The Northern Renaissance (1500 - 1615), Mannerism (1520 – 17th Century), The Baroque (1600-1700), The Rococo (1600-1700), Neo Classicism (1720 - 1830),  Romanticism (1790 -1890), Realism (1848 - Present), Impressionism (1860 - 1895), Post-Impressionism (1886 - 1904), Symbolism and Art Nouveau (1880 -1910), Fauvism , Expressionism (1898 - 1920), Cubism  . Futurism (1907-1928 )Abstract Art (1907 – Present Day), Dadasim,. Surrealism (1916 - 1970),. Latin American Art (1492 - Present, Modern American Art (1520 – 17th Century), Postwar European Art (1945 - 1970), Australian Art (28,000 BC - Present), South African Art (98,000 BC - Present)