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History & Culture

The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field

This long essay by leading art historians Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom challenges traditional definitions of Islamic art. It discusses the origins of the label “Islamic art,” as well as debates in the field among universalists who see Islamic art as a coherent whole and those who would subdivide the artistic traditions of Muslim societies in different ways. The article can be usefully excerpted and compared to the more conventional definition given by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (The Nature of Islamic Art).

Shelia Blair and Jonathan Bloom


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