The Islamic World A History in Objects

Ladan Akbarnia, Venetia Porter, Fahmida Suleman, William Greenwood, Zeina Klink-Hoppe, Amandine Merat


This illustrated introduction offers a fresh approach to the history of the Islamic world from its origins to the present day. Told in six chapters, arranged both chronologically and thematically, and richly enhanced with outstanding images, it provides an illuminating insight into the material culture produced from West Africa to Southeast Asia through art and artifacts, people and places. From pre-Islamic works that provided a foundation for the arts of Islam to masterpieces produced under the great empires and objects that continue to be made today, this expansive survey traces the development of civilizations at the forefront of philosophical and scientific ideas, artistic and literary developments, and technological innovations, exploring a wealth of cultural treasures along the way. Texts are accompanied by a wide variety of objects, including architectural decoration, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, calligraphy, textiles, musical instruments, coins, illustrated manuscripts, and modern and contemporary art, all of which shed new light on the Islamic world both past and present. This book will inspire and inform anyone interested in one of the most influential and diverse cultures of the world. Table of Contents Introduction • 1. A history of histories • 2. Belief and practice • 3. Interconnected worlds (750–1500) • 4. The age of empires (1500–1900) • 5. Literary and musical traditions • 6. The modern world • 7. Glossary • 8. Selected bibliography • 9. Acknowledgements • 10. Credits • 11. Index


Cultural artifacts including ceramics, textiles, and metalwork trace Islam from 750 to today, in this deep dive into the Islamic world from West Africa to Southeast Asia. … Ideal for even those with little knowledge on the topic.

— Library Journal


Ladan Akbarnia


Ladan Akbarnia Curator, Islamic Collections and Arts of the Book

Venetia Porter


Venetia Porter Curator, Islamic and Contemporary Middle East Art

Fahmida Suleman


Fahmida Suleman Phyllis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East

William Greenwood


William Greenwood Albukhary Foundation Curator of the Islamic World

Zeina Klink-Hoppe


Zeina Klink-Hoppe Phyllis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East

Amandine Merat


Amandine Mérat Project Curator, Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World