Medieval period

Mihrab from Isfahan (Iran) (detail)
This prayer niche once pointed students towards Mecca. Its blue and white patterns comprise verses from the Qur’an.

Mihrab from Isfahan (Iran)

Two Royal Figures, Iran (Saljuq period) (detail)
These stucco statues, with vivid costumes and distinctive round faces, may once have guarded a grand hall.

Two Royal Figures

The Coronation Mantle
Made for a Christian ruler by Islamic artisans, this cloak is full of Islamic motifs and cosmological references.

Coronation Mantle

Folio from a Qur'an, 14th century, ink on paper, 13 1/5. x 5 1/5" (The Brooklyn Museum)
The Islamic world turned writing into an art, but it’s the decoration, not the script, that sets these folios apart.

Mamluk Qur’an

The Alhambra
This city within a city is famed for its three highly decorative palaces and their equally elaborate gardens.

The Alhambra

The Pyxis of al-Mughira
This florid box, designed to hold cosmetics, attests to the rich ivory carving tradition of Islamic Spain.

Pyxis of al-Mughira

Qu'ran fragment, in Arabic, before 911, vellum, MS M. 712, fols 19v-20r, 23 x 32 cm, possibly Iraq (The Morgan Library and Museum, New York)
The lavish materials used for this manuscript convey both its patron’s wealth and the sacred text’s dignity.

Folio from a Qur’an