This Course is Expired

Islamic Art and Architecture

This course is for anyone interested in understanding Islamic art and culture, by examining the relationship between Islamic faith and various art forms.
University of Oxford University Offices Wellington Square Oxford ,OX1 2JD United Kingdom
(4418) 65270000

Course at a Glance

Mode of learning : Online - Instructor Lead(LVC)

Domain / Subject : Arts & Design

Function : General

Trainer name : Dr Peter Morgan

Starts on : 24th Sep 2014

Duration : 10 Weeks

Difficulty : Advanced

About the course

Muslim societies produced art of tremendous vitality and diversity for around 1500 years in centres from Spain and West Africa to South-East Asia and China. Their artistic production includes architectural monuments such as mosques, palaces, and civic centres to textiles, manuscripts, and portable objects in ceramic, gold, silver, metal alloys, ivory, and rock crystal. This introductory course will explore the main stylistic and iconographic themes in Islamic art and highlight the diversity of its expressions.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Teaching Outcomes

By the end of the course you will understand:

  • the main characteristics of Islamic art and architecture and its regional and dynastic diversity
  • the different interpretations of works of art
  • the significance of context and patronage for the development of Islamic art and architecture

And you will be able to:

  • identify, interpret, and evaluate a range of images and source materials
  • use the relevant technical vocabulary in discussing the subject

Course eligibility

Course Requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following textbook: Hattstein, M., and Delius, P., (eds.), Islam. Art and Architecture Ullman, 2010) ISBN 3833160020 [Or, you may prefer the 2004 hardback edition of the same book ISBN 383311178X]

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Course Content

The areas you will cover in this course are:

  • Introduction and a starting point. 
  • Muslim places of worship and devotion. 
  • Calligraphy and arts of the Qur’an. 
  • Painting and figural representation in Islam. 
  • Ceramics of the Muslim world. I
  • Muslim metalwork. 
  • Islamic ornament: Geometry, Arabesque and Calligraphy. 
  • Arts of the book: Painted and illuminated manuscripts. 
  • Gardens and Palaces. 
  • Funerary landscape: tombs, mausoleums, and gardens.


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