These archives offer some 5000 images of patterns and other design features drawn from the rich cultural heritage of the Islamic world. Historically, the decorative arts have always formed a major part of Islamic aesthetic expression. Its remarkable achievements in this direction (much of which are represented here) make it an invaluable resource for designers of all kinds as well as for art-historians and art-lovers generally.
The Decorative Arts of Islam have long exerted a fascination and influence on the non-Islamic world. The examples of printed material here are from sources dating from the mid-19th century up to more recent examples – a testament to a continuing artistic and cultural admiration.
Islam began as a religious movement at a particular time and place in history and went on to become an imperial and then a major cultural force. Although it is really impossible to separate the different aspects of the totality that is Islam, the following notes are an attempt to briefly summarise both the general and particular developments that bear on the subject of this website.