The Islamic Empire was one of the largest Empires of the world during its time in power. The Islamic Empire refers to the caliphates which were established after the death of Muhammad, and which spread under the rule of the caliph until the rise of the medieval Ottoman Empire.
The Islamic Empire mostly covered the Middle East, Eastern Europe and parts of North Africa.However, the Islamic Empire (and caliphates which composed it) had no set culture between nations.
Because of this, it was home to a huge number of differing art styles; ranging from the paintings of Asia in the east to the textile works of Europe and Africa to the west.
As the Islamic Empire was so vast, there was no single artform that was popular across all of it. However, there was one thing that most nations of the Empire had in common with their artwork; nearly every territory of the caliphate avoided art with depictions of real people or animals.
This is because, in the religion of Islam, the worshipping of “idols” was considered a grave offense to Allah.
Islamic artists believed that depicting real creatures would be the same as worshipping another god, so they instead focused on complex designs or patterns for their artworks.
This emphasis on geometric artwork separated Islamic art from the rest of the world’s.
The most common artforms of the Islamic empire were ceramics and textiles – which took the form of decorated pots and carpets, respectively. Because precious stones like marble were available across the Empire, many artists used glazed tile to create beautiful images.
These tiles were sold for display in homes across the caliphate. Depictions of natural settings, such as the night sky, or a forest at night, were particularly common. The symbol of the Islamic faith, the moon and star, was also commonly depicted.
Decorative carpets saw popularity as Islamic prayer mats but were also hung on walls and fixed to floors. One style of pattern used by Islamic artists in both ceramic and textile artwork was the arabesque style.
An arabesque pattern is one which uses intricate depictions of leaves and flowers in a geometric (or symmetrical) shape to create a picture that looks endless.
The endless appearance of arabesque artwork was often taken as a symbol of the infinite nature of Allah. Arabesque carpets were extremely popular among people of all classes in the Islamic Empire, and were exported in huge numbers from the Middle East.
The third most common form of artwork in the Islamic Empire were carvings of wood, stone, ivory or metal. Because the depiction of “icons” was banned, physical forms of art were favored because they were easier to create without breaking any rules.
Carvings used the same geometric framework as textile and ceramic art, but saw special use in mosques and other holy places as stands for the Quran, and decoration within the buildings themselves.
Carvings were sold across the Empire to the rich and powerful, often in the form of jewelry boxes and coffins.
Calligraphy is a form of special writing that’s used in art all across the world, but was first popularized and used in the Islamic Empire. Calligraphic writing is highly elaborate and very decorative – nowadays, it’s used on things like invitations for weddings.
In the Islamic Empire, calligraphic writing was used to display quotations from the Quran or Muhammad’s Hadith, and would be combined with geometric/arabesque patterns to create a piece of artwork meaningful to the Islamic faith.
– Muslims are strictly prohibited from the worship of any idols.
– Ceramics, textiles, and carving.
– An arabesque picture is one that uses interconnected leaves and flowers to create an image that looks infinite.
– A highly decorative, elaborate form of writing that’s used across the world. In the Islamic Empire, it was used to display quotes from the Quran.