Art Spots

Islamic Arts
by Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair

“Islamic Art” is a tricky label.  While it does refer to art created and used in Muslim rituals and practices, it also encompasses a wide range of art that has no religious significance, but is made by and for people who once lived, or who now live, in Muslim-majority societies.  This survey of Islamic Arts is an excellent introduction and overview of the subject, covering twelve centuries and a wide range of artistic and architectural genres and styles.  Filled with beautiful color images and very readable text, this book could even serve as a fine introduction to the broad sweep of Islamic culture and history.

London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2010


Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom met more than 30 years ago while writing their dissertations. Since then, the wife-and-husband team has taught and lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad, traveled extensively through the Middle East, North Africa and Central and South Asia, authored or edited hundreds of scholarly articles and more than a dozen books—including seven jointly—and accumulated a large collection of photographs of Islamic art and architecture. They currently share the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professorship of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College and the Hamad bin Khalifa Endowed Chair of Islamic Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Professors Blair and Bloom study all aspects of Islamic art from the seventh century to modern times. Blair’s primary interests are the arts of Iran and Central Asia, the Mongols, and the history of the Islamic book. Her latest book, Islamic Calligraphy (Edinburgh University Press, 2006), has garnered several international awards. Bloom concentrates more on the arts of the medieval Mediterranean region as well as the history of paper. His most recent book, Arts of the City Victorious (Yale University Press, 2007), is a study of the art and architecture of the Fatimid period in North Africa and Egypt. Their latest book is Rivers of Paradise: Water in Islamic Art and Culture (Yale University Press, 2009), the proceedings of a conference they convened in Doha, Qatar.

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"Muslim Journeys | Item #123: ", June 20, 2024


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