Islamic Decorative Arts up to the Mongol Conquest





This course surveys the decorative arts produced in the Islamic world from the 7th century ce until the Mongol invasion and conquest of Baghdad, seat of the Caliphate, in 1258 ce. The geographical area extends from Spain to Central Asia. The survey explores the central role played by the decorative arts in the hierarchy of arts and examines the history and issues of interpretation of Islamic art in the West since the 19th century. The historical and cultural context is examined, and architectural and painting traditions are studied. Special emphasis is placed on the genesis and formative period of Islamic art, the spread of the international Abbasid style from the 9th century onward, the flowering of ceramics and metalwork in the 12th and 13th centuries, and the origins of carpet production. Featured decorative arts include luster and polychrome painted ceramics; inlaid metalwork; wood, ivory, and rock crystal carving; and woven textiles and rugs. Visits to Islamic collections in museum galleries, conservation laboratories, and the Asian Art Fair are planned. 3 credits.