Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East by Tim Stanley
The arts of Islam, a great and ancient culture, are presented here in all their astonishing richness and diversity, through the V&A's magnificent collections. From the Middle East came the earliest astrological clocks, the finest ceramics and lustreware, the development of calligraphy and Arabic scripts, and the intricate skills of carpet-weaving, among many other profoundly significant cultural developments. This cradle of empires was also a vibrant commercial centre, exporting raw materials, skills and techniques to surrounding lands, and spreading its web of influence from Southern Spain to Northern India. This book skilfully traces the main currents of Islamic art, focusing in detail on some of its great masterpieces and the technical skill that created them, illustrated with fine examples from the collections of the V&A. In doing so, it distills a rich and vibrant culture, and will be of lasting value to all those interested in the glories of the Islamic world.