The early period

This period, directly following the death of Mohammed, saw the rapid spread of Islam and the development of the central characteristics of the art of Islam.

c. 640 - 900 C.E.

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The Umayyads (661–749 C.E.)
The Umayyads (661–749 C.E.)

The Dome of the Rock. The Great Mosque in Damascus. The Great Mosque in Córdoba. These remarkable achievements are all Umayyad.

The Great Mosque of Damascus
The Great Mosque of Damascus

Once a temple to Zeus, the Great Mosque of Damascus, has survived the Syrian Civil War, and stands as one of the world's most important historic structures.

Kairouan (from UNESCO)
Kairouan (from UNESCO)

Kairouan was an important early Islamic city in north Africa. Marble and porphyry columns flank its Great Mosque.

The Great Mosque of Kairouan
The Great Mosque of Kairouan

Used for Friday prayer, this mosque stood at the center of Kairouan’s commercial, educational, and religious life.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba
The Great Mosque of Cordoba

Recycled Roman columns fill the prayer hall of this dazzling mosque, one of the oldest built in Islamic Spain.

The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhra)
The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhra)

While not a mosque, the Dome of the Rock is one of the earliest surviving buildings from the Islamic world.

Arts of the Islamic world: The early period
Arts of the Islamic world: The early period

Two powerful dynasties, the Umayyad and the Abbasid, ruled the Islamic World between the 7th and 13th centuries.

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