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"Islamic art is perhaps the most accessible manifestation of a complex civilization that often seems enigmatic to outsiders. Through its brilliant use of color and its superb balance between design and form, Islamic art creates an immediate visual impact. Its strong aesthetic appeal transcends distances in time and space, as well as differences in language, culture, and creed." 

- Dr Linda Komaroff, associate curator of Islamic Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Islamic and traditional art

Introduction to Islamic art
by Dr Linda Komaroff
This illustrated introduction links history with artistic developments and covers the early Islamic, early medieval, late medieval and later Islamic periods. It is based around the extensive collection of works at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, ranging in date from the seventh to the 19th century and geographically from southern Spain to Central Asia. For a quick overview of the items discussed, see the page of thumbnail images.

Art of the Mamluks
Illustrated elections from a book by Dr. Esin Atil, describing the art of the Mamluk empire that ruled in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine for more than 250 years.

Symmetry and pattern: the art of oriental rugs
Site created by Carol Bier, curator of the Textile Museum. Detailed commentary on   aspects of design, involving some simple mathematics.

Rugs: design, dyeing techniques, materials, weaving and knotting, classification, etc.

Tattoos and henna
Skin decoration in the Middle East. What is an "Arabic tattoo"?

A comprehensive website about henna, used for skin decoration in many parts of the Arab world - including how to do it yourself.

More about henna
From arab-heritage.com

Art and Islam
Elisabeth Siddiqui discusses the relationship between Islamic art and the principles of Islam.

Islamic art exhibition
A selection of exhibits at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Mathaf Gallery 
London art dealer specialising in 19th century and contemporary Orientalist paintings.

Pre-Islamic art

Three sets of sculpture from the Detroit Institute of Arts: South Arabian, Mesopotamian and ancient Egyptian.

Modern art

Arab Art Exchange
Probably the best site for modern Arab art. Extensive list of artists with links to their work, reviews and articles.

Orient Art
Portfolios by Lebanese artists, plus links to several Beirut galleries

Iraqi Art
Work by several groups of artists, such as the Baghdad School and the Pioneers

International Muslimah Artists' Network (IMAN)
Works by contemporary women artists

Work by Egyptian artists for sale

Kahlil Gibran's Art
The writer turns artist

Boulevard Pasteur
A site for Moroccan artists and writers

Institut du Monde Arabe - Paris
A variety of on-line exhibitions (with text in French)

Darat al Funun
Comprehensive Arab art site based in Jordan

Khalil Sakakini Center
Palestinian artists and poets

Arab Image Institute
Photography archive

Contemporary Sudanese Art

Paintings of Yemen  
A selection of watercolours and oils by Caroline Lees

Joseph Matar
Lebanese artist, painter and poet

Lebanon Art
A site for artists, painters, photographers and poets.


The photography of Hakim Talbi
Hakim Talbi was born in 1966 in Oran, Algeria. He learned the basics of photography at the Algiers Military School of Engineers (ENITA) where he graduated in 1990. He covered many political events in Algiers with his 35mm camera from 1988 to 1993. He now lives in New York and is working on two books about his art.

Arab Foundation for Images 
A non-profit organisation which aims to locate, collect and preserve the photographic heritage of the region.

  • Readers are invited to suggest links for this new photography section.


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Last revised on 05 August, 2015