Dating in islamic culture
Wall painting existed but has generally been poorly preserved; the great Islamic art of painting was limited to the illustration of books.The unique feature of Islamic techniques is the astounding development taken by the so-called decorative arts—e.g., woodwork, glass, ceramics, metalwork, and textiles.
The kind of conclusion that can be reached about Islamic civilization through its visual arts thus extends far deeper than is usual in the study of an artistic tradition, and it requires a combination of archaeological, art-historical, and textual information. Among all the techniques of Islamic visual arts, the most important one was the art of clothes were also the main indicators of rank, and they were given as rewards or as souvenirs by princes, high and low.In the case of this one technique, therefore, one is dealing not simply with a medium of the decorative arts but with a key medium in the definition of a given time’s taste, of its practical functions, and of the ways in which its ideas were distributed.The more unfortunate point is that the thousands of fragments that have remained have not yet been studied in a sufficiently systematic way, and in only a handful of instances has it been possible to relate individual fragments to known texts.But because early Islam as such did not possess or propagate an art of its own, each area could continue, in fact often did continue, whatever modes of creativity it had acquired.It may then not be appropriate at all to talk about the visual arts of Islamic peoples, and one should instead consider separately each of the areas that became Muslim: Spain, North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Iran, Anatolia, and India.The perspective is that of the lands that surround the Muslim world or of the times that preceded its formation.
For even if there are ambiguous examples, most observers can recognize a flavour, a mood in Islamic visual arts that is distinguishable from what is known in East Asia (China, Korea, and Japan) or in the Christian West.
Iranian art, in particular, exhibits a number of features (certain themes such as the representation of birds or an epic tradition in painting) that owe little to its Islamic character since the 7th century.
Ottoman art shares a Mediterranean tradition of architectural conception with Italy rather than with the rest of the Muslim world.
Nor is it simply a period art, like Gothic art or Baroque art, for once a land or an ethnic entity became Muslim, it remained Muslim, a small number of exceptions such as Spain or Sicily notwithstanding.
Political and social events transformed a number of lands with a variety of earlier histories into Muslim lands.
Each artistic tradition has tended to develop its own favourite mediums and techniques.