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Islamic Drawings

Islamic drawing encompasses all work made by Muslims on paper using traditional drawing media. Since Muslims live throughout the world, the style of Islamic drawings ranges significantly depending on the region.

Islamic drawing has historically tended to incorporate the artistic sensibilities of preexisting peoples on the lands that Muslims conquered, resulting in an amalgam of Byzantine, Greco Roman, and Sasanian elements. Islamic drawing often features all-over patterns, which rely on four basic repeat units consisting of circles and interlaced circles, polygons, and star patterns.

Islamic drawing tends to be non-representational, stemming from an interpretation of holy scriptures in the Qu'ran that condemns the use of figurative art according to the belief that the ability to create new life is unique to God, or Allah. As a result, there was an explosion of Islamic calligraphy drawing that developed centuries ago and has continued to flourish throughout the Muslim world today.

Quick Facts

  • Two Kufic Qu'ran folios from the 8th-9th century A.D. consisting of ink on paper sold at Christie's in 2015 for more than $12,000
  • Islamic calligraphy derives inspiration from the highly geometric and complex forms that beautify the walls and ceilings of mosques throughout the Muslim world
  • Islamic calligraphy evolved with the Arabic language and grew significantly as an art form during the Ottoman era (1299-1923 A.D.). Today, it continues to represent a vibrant form of expression

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