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The History of Islamic Art


By: Kenya Riley


  • Characterizes the art and architecture history of Islam.



  • Began in the 7th century.



  •  Subject to many different styles which led to

       various changes over it's many periods of





  • Includes all the ideas of Islam culture.



  • Not restricted to religious art.






Islamic Art



  • Roman Art




  • Early Christian Art




  • Byzantine Art




  • Sassanian Art (pre-Islamic Persia)




  • Chinese Art

The Influences of Islam



Aspects of Islamic Art...


  • Architecture



  • Calligraphy



  • Vegetal Patterns



  • Glass


  • Geometric Patterns




 The Great Mosque of Xian, China was first constructed  in 742 CE. It is one of the oldest mosques and has been  preserved greatly, in fact it is one of the best preserved  mosques in China. The mosque is an example of how a  contemporary Buddhist temple in the 15th century CE  was built. During different points in history Islamic  empires and dynasties dominated territory from Spain to  western China.



  • One of the most important elements of Islamic art.
  • Calligraphy is a way to transform text into something decorative. 
  • When writing in Arabic Script it's almost inevitable to not see the potential to develop many different kinds of ornamental forms.
  • Calligraphy is distinct and can be cleary seen from other parts of the decoration.
  • Calligraphy was often used on vegetal scrolls.
  • The central religious text of Islam is the Qur'an (the book of God's revelations to the Prophet Mohammad). This book is essential to Islamic culture and is written in calligraphy (Arabic script).





Vegetal patterns became widespread which led to the


experimentation of different forms to meet the needs of the


Muslim people. The 10th - 12th century was also called the


Medieval period was when the Islamic style was fully developed.


The patterns during this time were often described as original and


known everywhere which led to the name "arabesque". Arabesque


means "in the Arab fashion" in French. Vegetal patterns began to


be created at various times in history in many different places in


the world. Vegetal patterns in Islamic art lack symbolic meaning. 

Vegetal Patterns

  • In Islamic art enameled and gilded glass was used.


  • In this technique gold and/or enamels were put on a glass surface such as a vase by using an oil based medium and a brush or reed pen.


  • Different temperatures are used to affectively apply the enamels to the glass because of their varied chemical properties.


  • This technique was created in the 12th century in the Syrian area and spread to other places.


  • Enameled and/or gilded glass that remained intact is often sold for a very high price.






  • Geometric patterns are used on a vast array of objects. Islamic mathematicians, astronomers, and scientists all contributed tothe creation of this unique form of art.


  • Geometric patterns consist of simple shapes like the triangle, square, circle, and rectangle.


  • Calligraphy and vegetal patterns are similar to geometric patterns when discussing the varies styles and ideas formed.