Themes in the Art and Archaeology of the Near and Middle East

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

This course presents a selection of highlights of Islamic art in chronological order from the 7th to the 19th century, with major urban centres providing not the focus of the course but its geographical context and most of its objects of study. These objects include architecture, painting, ceramics, and metalwork, all of which will be studied in thematic contexts, including conceptual, artistic, historical, and cultural. Where appropriate, other features of Islamic art, such as its interaction with the West, will also be emphasised.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • A broad familiarity with the historical background of the architecture, arts and archaeology of the Islamic lands from 1st C. CE to the present.
  • Understanding of the political, religious and social contexts that generated this rich cultural heritage.
  • Knowledge of the approaches and methods of art historians, archaeologists and connoisseurs who have interpreted the history of the formation and development of Islamic art and architecture.
  • Knowledge of the textual and material resources available for future research and the current trends in scholarly research in the study of the material culture of the Islamic Near and Middle East.

Method of assessment

  • 500-word object analysis (worth 10% of marks)
  • 1,500-word essay (worth 30%)
  • Participation in lectures and tutorials (worth 10%)
  • Exam (in term 3): 2 hours (worth 50%)

Suggested reading

  • Bloom, J. and Blair, S., 1994, The Art and Architecture of Islam 1250-1700, London (1995).
  • Carswell, John, Iznik Pottery, London (1998).
  • Contadini, A, Fatimid Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (1998).
  • Creswell, K.A.C., ed. James Allan, A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, Aldershot (1989).
  • Ettinghausen, R. and Grabar, O., The Art and Architecture of Islam: 650-1250 London (1987).
  • Hillenbrand, R., Islamic Art and Architecture, London (1999).
  • Necipoglu, Gulru, The Age of Sinan, London (2005).
  • Roxburgh, David J., (ed.), Turks, A Journey of a Thousand Years 600-1600 (exhibition catalogue) London (2005).
  • Canby S., The Golden Age of Persian Art, London (1999).
  • Stanley T., (ed.) The Palace and the Mosque, London (2004).


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