Art and Architecture

How to get started?

The term “Islamic Art” is used widely in the field of museum studies and academia in general to indicate art and architecture that was created in areas where the rulers were Muslim. While the term ‘Islamicate’ is gaining popularity, “Islamicate art” is not (yet) widely used, even though arguably it would be a more correct indication of what “Islamic art” actually is. We now find that (non-religious) art created by Muslim artist is sometimes also classified under Islamic art as well as Jewish and Christian architectural constructions in the Islamicate World, making the category as a whole rather broad and unspecific. From all the material sources mentioned on this website, Islamic art is probably the best documented and “Islamic Art” can be considered as a field in its own right, with plenty of good studies and even a selection of textbooks available. A good place to start is by reading the following overviews of the field:

Flood, Finbarr Barry, and Gülru Necipoğlu. “Frameworks of Islamic Art and Architectural History,” in A companion to Islamic art and architecture, edited by Finbarr Barry Flood and Gülru Necipoğlu, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2017.


Blair, Sheila S., and Jonathan M. Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field.” Art Bulletin 85, no. 1 (March 2003): 152–184.


Archnet: An open access internet resource focused on architecture, urbanism, environmental and landscape design, visual culture, and conservation issues related to the Muslim world.

Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online is a free and open-access online platform of digital resources to aid the teaching of Islamic art, architecture, and visual culture.

The Qantara project: A database and internet resource covering  the artistic heritage of the countries on the Mediterranean coast.

Discover Islamic Art: A database and internet resource for Islamic art and material culture.

H-Islamart: An internet resource for studies in Islamic art as well as events and collaborations.

ArtStor: This is a paid source available through many academic libraries. It holds a very large variety of images, that may also be used for teaching purposes

Open Art Images: This database offers a selection of Islamic art. The images can be used freely also for publication on websites

Ancient World Image Bank A collection of photographs (curated on Flickr) that can be used and shared freely.

Specific topics


Desert Castles



Pilgrim trails

Journals and series


International Journal of Islamic Architecture

Ars Orientalis

Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World

Beiträge zur Islamischen Kunst und Archäologie

Studien zur islamischen Kunst und Archäologie

An updated list of publications on the site of the Historians of Islamic Art Association

Seminal works

Barrucand, Marianne (ed.), 1999. L’Égypte Fatimide son art et son histoire. Actes du colloque organisé à Paris les 28, 29 et 30 mai 1998, Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne.

Creswell, K.A.C., 1940a. Early Muslim Architecture, Vol. I, Part I: Umayyads, New York: Hacker Art Books.

Creswell, K.A.C., 1940b. Early Muslim Architecture, Vol. II: Early ʿAbbāsids, Umayyads of Cordova, Aghlabids, Ṭūlūnids, and Samānids, A.D. 751-905, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Creswell, K.A.C., 1958. A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, Beirut: Librairie du Liban and Lebanon Bookshop.

Ettinghausen, Richard and Grabar, Oleg, 1987. The Art and Architecture of Islam: 650–1250, New York and London: Viking Penguin.

Grabar, Oleg, 1973. The Formation of Islamic Art, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Hillenbrand, Robert, 1995. Islamic Architecture: Form, Function and Meaning, Columbia University Press.

What’s new in Islamic Art?

Check Worldcat,