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"Islamic art is perhaps the most accessible manifestation of a complex civilization that often seems enigmatic to outsiders. Through its brilliant use of color and its superb balance between design and form, Islamic art creates an immediate visual impact. Its strong aesthetic appeal transcends distances in time and space, as well as differences in language, culture, and creed." 

- Dr Linda Komaroff, associate curator of Islamic Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Islamic and traditional art

Introduction to Islamic art
by Dr Linda Komaroff
This illustrated introduction links history with artistic developments and covers the early Islamic, early medieval, late medieval and later Islamic periods. It is based around the extensive collection of works at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, ranging in date from the seventh to the 19th century and geographically from southern Spain to Central Asia. For a quick overview of the items discussed, see the page of thumbnail images.

The Nature of Islamic Art 
Metropolitan Museum of Art/ Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Introduction to Islamic art 
BBC website

Discover Islamic Art
A virtual museum consisting of "exhibitions" and a permanent collection of the art and architecture of the great Islamic dynasties of the Mediterranean from the seventh to the twentieth century.

Islamic Art (c.622-1900) 
Encyclopedia of Art Education

Arts of the Islamic World 
Khan Academy

Islamic art reading list 
Victoria and Albert Museum, London 

Art of the Mamluks
Illustrated elections from a book by Dr. Esin Atil, describing the art of the Mamluk empire that ruled in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine for more than 250 years.

Art and Islam
Elisabeth Siddiqui discusses the relationship between Islamic art and the principles of Islam.

Rugs: design, dyeing techniques, materials, weaving and knotting, classification, etc.

Tattoos and henna
Skin decoration in the Middle East. What is an "Arabic tattoo"?

Pre-Islamic art

Pre-Islamic Art from Saudi Arabia 

Ancient Near Eastern Art 
A collection of photographs. Detroit Institute of Art

Modern art


Barjeel Art Foundation 
An online collection of more than 950 works by Arab artists. The website also has commissioned essays, texts and exhibition catalogues which can be downloaded

Word Into Art 
BBC report of an exhibition of contemporary Islamic art at the British Museum in 2006.

Contemporary Arab art 
The Arab British Centre in London has a small permanent collection of Arab art and also holds exhibitions from time to time.

Darat al Funun
Based in Jordan, Darat al Funun aims to "provide a platform for contemporary Arab artists, to support art practices and artistic exchange, to stimulate critical discourse, and to research, document and archive Arab art".

Kahlil Gibran's Art
The writer turns artist

Paintings of Yemen  
A selection of watercolours and oils by Caroline Lees


In the art section


In the arts and culture section




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Last revised on 31 May, 2016