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Islamic Art

The term Islamic Art describes art created specifically in the service of the Muslim faith as well as the art and architecture produced historically in the lands ruled by the Muslims, supported by Muslim rulers and created by Muslim artists. Islamic art focuses on the artistic representation of God's word by writing it beautifully in Arabic, which is accompanied by geometric and floral designs that are known as arabesques.

Though, Islamic art flourished under the Muslims, from Spain to Afghanistan, the lands conquered by the Muslims had their own pre-existing artistic traditions. After having worked under Byzantine or Sasanian rulers, the artists continued to work in their indigenous styles but for Muslim patrons. Therefore, the beginnings of Islamic art displays this blending of classical and Iranian decorative themes and motifs. Some early 20th century Pakistani practitioners of Islamic Art include Abdur Rahman Chugtai, Zainul Abedin, Shakir Ali, Zubeida Agha, Sadequain, Rasheed Araeen and Naiza Khan. Islamic Architecture is known for its minarets, spires and domes found commonly on mosques, madrasas and tombs. Their chief characteristics are semi circular horseshoe arches and geometric designs.

Tile fragment from Iran, about 1230.