It’s safe to say that the visual arts have always been an extremely inspirational medium to me. This is especially true when it comes to Islamic Art. The heavy use of geometrical forms and the rhythm of mingling patterns that move in harmony with passages from the Quran.

Traditionally, many schools of Islamic thought have avoided the use of human figures in their artistic endeavors; Sharia law even forbids the use. Perhaps to keep ones practice of Islam clear and void of idolatry. The resulting style became known as Arabesque playing hugely on vegetal, geometric, and scriptural elements. And this only scratches the surface. Other schools of thought, inspired by the Chinese and Mongols, did, in fact include depictions of men and women at the time.

So it’s clear that, like many genres, Islamic art can’t be neatly defined and the pieces i’ve brought to the board today span many centuries and borders.

Now, before I digress once again, I present a powerful collection of Islamic art currently on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art here in Kansas City, Missouri.


 Folios From a Qur’an. Abbasid Period (750-1258 C.E.)

Ink and Gold on Vellum. Arabic language using the Kufic script.

IMG_2247Couple Standing Among Flowering Trees.

Tabriz, Iran, Turkman School. 1480 C.E

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper


Today’s Life and War 6

Gohar Dashti- Iranian (2008)


Tile with Inscription

Iran. Seljuk Period ( 1038-1220s)

Ceramic w/ turquoise glaze


Stories of Martyrdom (Women of Allah)

Shiran Neshat

Iranian (1994)



Iran. Seljuk Period (1038-1250s)

Fritware with opaque turquoise glaze


Detailed shot of Mosaic from an arched entrance portal known as an iwan.

Isfahan, Iran. Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722)

Glazed ceramic tile and gold leaf.


Paper Plates

Hamra Abbas- Pakistani (2008)

Paper collage

The exhibit goes on to include textiles, more ceramics, and even a short animated film which plays on the colonial occupation of India. A great display of the wide variations in Islamic art through time and space.

So, I absolutely urge you to pay a visit to the Nelson-Atkins. That is… if you’re in Kansas City already!



11 responses to “Islamic Art: An Exhibit”

  1. Beautiful artifacts in this post. I’ll have to wander back through the Atkins soon. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Interesting trip to a world of culture that never stand still and hopefully will be peaceful for all one day. Thanks for visiting and inviting to see yours also.


    1. Absolutely. It’s an extremely lovely world out there if you’re willing to take the time and appreciate it for what it is, especially so for the Middle East. Peace will come, one day. I hope were around the witness it. Thank for stopping by!


      1. What great words I would love to be around in such important day if people will appreciate each other and not for land space and religion but for the human super qualities. Thank you for taking time to visit and comment.


  3. If you have the chance, you should also take a look at Kuala Lumpur’s Museum of Islamic Arts! Great collections too 🙂


    1. Shukran, I will look up the museum now!


  4. Great reading, thanks for sharing.


  5. State of Belita Avatar
    State of Belita

    I love your blog! Very interesting and insightful posts!


  6. Pretty awesome.. Thanks for sharing 😊


  7. Its called “khat” or Islamic calligraphy. Some of it was written really beautifully. Been to Islamic Museum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which just next to the National Mosque and the khat on display are really really artsy.


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