Art of the Islamic world

The Taj Mahal, a silk carpet, a Qur‘an; all of these are examples of Islamic art. But what exactly is Islamic art and architecture?

Masterpiece Moment - Damascus Room thumb
The luxurious space of the Damascus Room was ikely for an affluent family to host visitors. The opulent décor and poetic inscriptions were designed to make the space feel like a retreat from the bustling commercial center. Explore the masterpiece with Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Damascus Room at The Metropolitan Museum ...

Located at the crossroads of several trade routes from the 2nd millennium B.C., Aleppo was ruled successively by the Hittites, Assyrians, Arabs, Mongols, Mamelukes and Ottomans


Mausoleum to Koja Ahmad Yassaui
In this partly unfinished building, Persian master builders experimented with architectural and structural solutions later used in the construction of Samarkand, the capital of the Timurid Empire.

Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

Ornate frontispiece of a 10th-century Qur'an, probably from Egypt, with arabesque decoration in gold and overlapping chain-patterns in white. CORANUS, literis Cuficis. Codex membranaceus, sec. fortassis xi. In Quarto minori. [l3,735.], 900–100 (British Library)
Since Islam prohibits the representation of the human or animal form in religious contexts, Islamic art finds its ultimate spiritual expression in beautiful calligraphy and illumination of the sacred script.

Illumination of the Qur’an

An early Kufic Qur’an (British Library)
Dr. Mustafa Shah describes the historical context of the Qur’an—its revelation, its transmission and codification and its shared spiritual heritage with the other Abrahamic faiths.

The Qur’an

persian painting grid
Explore the rich effects of a painting from an illustrated manuscript of the Shahnameh — or ‘Book of Kings’ — the national epic of Iran composed by poet Firdawsi around 1010.

Looking at Persian painting