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Islamic Art

Throughout 14 centuries, Islam has influenced and inspired a wealth of art, from traditional calligraphy and textile design to contemporary architecture and politically-driven paintings. Explore our rich collection of books and films on Islamic art. This list was created to enhance the library's Muslim Journeys programming throughout 2013, sponsored through a grant from the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Modern Islamic Art: Development and Continuity
q N7265 .A43 1997

Starting with an overview of the origins of Islamic art, Ali then focuses on works of the 19th century and beyond. Media include silk screens, burned wood, and oils on canvas, with subjects ranging from everyday scenes in the market to political pieces related to the Intifada. Ali pays special attention to calligraphy, and how it has evolved into its current usage in art.


Islamic Arts
N6260.B566 1997x

Phaidon has compiled a wonderful chronology of Islamic art, spanning the seventh century through the 1800s. Includes timelines by region, richly detailed photographs, maps, and a remarkable section on early coins and calligraphy.


Zaha Hadid.
NA1469.H33 A4 2006

Zaha Hadid, Iraqi by birth and Islamic in faith, is the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Her projects include Cincinnati's Center for Contemporary Art, the London Aquatics Center for the recent Olympic Games, and the evolving Central Bank of Iraq. This book compiles dozens of her creations through photos and architectural renderings.

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World
N6260.I829 2011x

This documentary film, narrated by Susan Sarandon, takes us on a journey to nine nations to demonstrate Islamic art, large and small: from the tiny tiles making up an enormous mosque, to metal and ceramic vessels.


Ornament and Design of the Alhambra
q NA387.C22 2008

Though Spain's Alhambra was inhabited by groups of various faiths throughout time, its decorations are strongly connected to Islamic tradition. This book collects images of tiles, ornaments, and mosaics from arches, pillars, panels, and ceilings in the palace. Free of text, except for captions, these plates are ideal for those studying art, architecture, or graphic design.


Islamic Art and Culture: A Visual History
q N6260 .K479 2006x

This coffee-table sized book is a must for the Islamic art enthusiast. Timelines and charts break down the Islamic dynasties, and full-color foldouts demonstrate the stunning beauty and detail of Muslim art throughout the ages. Don't miss the ivory calligraphic tools, gilded text stenciled on actual leaves, or the dozens of miniatures and illuminated Qurans.


Marrakesh by Design: Decorating with All the Colors, Patterns, and Magic of Morocco
NK2087.75.A1 M66 2012

Morocco, while a country of various faiths and ethnicities, has been greatly influenced by Islam for centuries. Saturated with color and culture, this book teaches you how to bring Moroccan design into your home and lifestyle. It explains hammams (steam baths), tiles, fountains, and the Islamic symbolism of certain colors, as well as how to use them in your home. It also describes baraka, a Muslim concept of divine blessings and good luck, and ways to incorporate it into your cuisine.

The Mosque: History, Architectural Development & Regional Diversity
q NA4670.M67 1994x

The non-Muslim world sometimes forgets that Islam has a large presence in countries outside the Middle East, including those in Southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa, and beyond. This book compiles mosques from around the globe, demonstrating how architecture in Mali or Uzbekistan differs from that in Indiana or Jakarta. It also offers examples of mosques that span the ages, including photos of a ninth-century minaret and a 1970s dome.


My Name is Red

Nobel Prize-winning Orhan Pamuk sets this novel in sixteenth-century Istanbul, long before Turkey's secularization. The sultan commissions a group of esteemed artists to illuminate a book glorifying the empire, but such art was not always acceptable in the Muslim faith. Tension escalates when one of the artists is murdered. Through multiple narrators - including dervishes, the color red, and the devil - the reader whirls through nine winter days in the Ottoman Empire.


The Art of Hajj
N6260.P678 2012x

In 2012, the British Museum held an exhibit on the art of hajj, which is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are expected to make at least once in their lives. Porter has compiled the works of that exhibit, with brief explanations, in this thin volume. Since this book focuses on artistic works, it is best enjoyed in tandem with Porter's more contextualized Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, as well as Ann Parker and Avon Neal's Hajj Paintings: Folk Art of the Great Pilgrimage.


The Submission

How might New Yorkers react if an American Muslim architect were randomly selected as the designer of a 9/11 memorial? Published in the same year it is set, this novel imagines the fervent debate and media frenzy that follow the jury's selection, sending ripples throughout the country. Waldman, a former journalist, includes the right amount of facts and details, but still captures the emotional responses from all sides. Winner of an American Book Award and a New York Times Notable Book for 2011.