“Arts of the Islamic World” and “Islamic art” are significant phrases which refer to the various artistic traditions which have flourished since the advent of Islam across a vast geographic area ranging from southern Spain and North Africa to the islands of Southeast Asia in the late seventh century. (Arts of the Islamic World 2008). One most relevant factor about the formation of Islamic art has been the influence of the varied culture of the world on its formation. “The cultural influences ranged from Byzantine (inherited when the Ottomans made Constantinople their capital in 1453), to Italian, French, Central Asian, Persian and Arab.” (Sajoo 2001, p. 16-18). There was also important influences from Roman architectural elements, Spanish mosaic decoration, Chinese ceramics, and Iraqi calligraphic styles in North Africa under the Fatimid dynasty. One of the most important elements of Islamic art has been its architecture consisting of a unique religious architecture which comprises the mosque (masjid), and the madrasa and a secular architecture including palaces, caravansaries, cities and the mausoleum. The Islam from the Arabian Peninsula had no native artistic traditions, but as it began to spread politically and socially, it also absorbed and adapted indigenous art styles. “Islamic art thus developed from many sources. Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture. the influence of Sassanian art—the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia under the Sassanids—was of paramount significance. Central Asian styles were brought in with Turkic and Mongol incursions. and Chinese influences had a formative effect on Islamic painting, pottery, and textiles.” (Islamic Art and Architecture 1993-2008). Thus, it is evident that the Islamic architecture and decoration has been significantly influenced by several world cultures. There have been European and American influences as well upon the architecture of the Islam. “It should be noted that while the arts in 19th- and 20th-century European and American countries were feeling the influence of Islamic arts and architecture, the reverse was occurring as well. Islamic arts and architecture began to experience the influence of Western artistry — and technology.” (The Impact of Islamic Arts on the West).
It is important comprehend that decoration has been a major unifying aspect in Islamic architecture and design. “For 13 centuries…decoration has linked buildings and objects from all over the Islamic world — from Spain to China to Indonesia.” (The Concept of Decoration in Islamic Architecture). The growth and development of the Islamic art, architecture, and decoration were greatly influenced by various cultures. The influence of a variety of cultures through the Dark Ages is often mentioned by several historical studies. Through the Dark Ages, Muslims made remarkable advances in art, architecture, decoration etc. in cities like Jerusalem, Damascus, Alexandria, Fez, Tunis, Cairo, and Baghdad. “The uniting of so many diverse cultures under one religion had the advantage of quickly disseminating the latest and best discoveries to all parts of the realm… All these diverse influences encouraged a new civilization to emerge which would generate a new form of cultural expression and new artistic styles.” (History of Islamic Art 2008). In conclusion, it is important to comprehend that the amalgamation of different cultural influences in the formation of Islamic art can be greatly supported in a literature review of the topic.
Bibliography
Arts of the Islamic World. (2008). [Online]. Collections. Last accessed 26 June 2008 at: http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/islamicHome.htm
History of Islamic Art. (2008). [online]. Salam. Last accessed 26 June 2008 at: http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/march02_index.php?l=1
Islamic Art and Architecture. (1993-2008). [Online]. msn: Encarta. Last accessed 26 June 2008 at: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761577725/Islamic_Art_and_Architecture.html
SAJOO, Dr AmynB (2001). Beyond The Exotic: The Pleasures of ‘Islamic’ Art. No. 42. p. 16-18. [Online]. The Institute of Ismaili Studies. Last accessed 26 June 2008 at: http://www.iis.ac.uk/view_article.asp?ContentID=101171
The Concept of Decoration in Islamic Architecture. [Online]. Islamic Architecture. Last accessed 26 June 2008 at: http://islamicart.com/main/architecture/decorate.html
The Impact of Islamic Arts on the West. [Online]. Islamic Architecture. Last accessed 26 June 2008 at: http://islamicart.com/main/architecture/impact.html

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