Islamic art dates to the beginning of the 7th century C.E. and denotes the visual arts created by those who lived within the Islamic Middle East. Not all of Islamic art is directly rooted in religion, and there are countless influences on the rich and varied styles of the Islamic arts. Islamic art itself developed out of many influences, from the Early Christian arts of the Roman Empire to the ornate Byzantine styles of Islam’s western border. Elements of Persian art are also closely associated with art from Muslim territories, and many Asian styles from as far away as China are seen in certain details due to the location of the Middle East amid the eastern and western trading routes.
There are hundreds of famous sites for Islamic art, many of them found in the wondrous mosques that are similarly renowned for their stunning architecture. The crosswinds of commerce and culture gave rise to the many mediums that Islamic artists quickly mastered. Glass, textiles, metalwork, pottery, and sculpture were all imbued with a distinct vision by diverse ancient Islamic societies. The far-flung spread of ancient Islamic culture can be seen in art and architecture as far west as Spain and as Far East as central and southern Asia. The intricate textiles and crafts of ancient Islamic art are still found today in the Persian rugs and applied arts of modern Middle Eastern societies.
Islamic art eschews representations of the human figure as a result of strict rules against idolatry in Islam. Many Islamic artworks feature the rich designs of Arabic calligraphy, while one of the most prevalent motifs in Islamic art is the use of geometrical floral designs known as the arabesque. The painstakingly designed arabesque in Islamic art is a symbol of the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of God, and while much arabesque seems to be flawless, there are minute mistakes that are often on purpose to emphasize the fallibility of man.