Art of the Islamic World


Undergraduate Level

This course serves as an introduction to the pre-modern Islamic artistic traditions of the Mediterranean, Near East, and Central and South Asia. This course is organized around the major dynasties under which Islamic art and architecture were produced. The first unit surveys core Islamic beliefs, the basic characteristics of Islamic art and architecture, and art and architecture created under the patronage of the Umayyads (632-750) and the Muslim rulers of Spain. The second unit focuses on the artistic and architectural innovations of the Abbasids (738-1250) and Seljuks (c.1040-1157), as well as the regional rulers of Anatolia and the Maghreb. The third unit looks at the art and architecture of three successive Islamic dynasties based in Egypt: the Fatimids (909-1171), Ayyubids (1171-1250), and Mamluks (1250-1517). Unit 4 examines the art and architecture of the Ilkhanid (1256-1353) and Timurid (c. 1370-1507) dynasties in Iran and Central Asia. The final unit presents the art and architecture of three later Islamic Empires: the Safavids (1501-1722), Ottomans (ca. 1299–1922), and Mughals (1526-1858). These three later Islamic empires shared diplomatic ties and participated in active trade and cultural exchange with each other as well as Europe and East Asia.

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