AH 210 Islamic Art
Humanities Liaison Librarian
Block 3, 2010
Instructor: Ruth Kolarik
Below are links and suggestions for researching the art of Islam, both in terms of the art itself and the Islamic context needed to understand it.
Sometimes it is hard to jump right in to searching for books and articles if you lack the background knowledge or vocabulary to create a search. I recommend this reference set as a place to dive in:
The Grove encyclopedia of Islamic art and architecture
edited by Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair.
1st Floor North-Reference N6260 .G75 2009 (3 vol.)
It is also part of Oxford Islamic Studies Online , though in some cases it may be easier to browse the printed books.
It has lengthy articles on countries, art forms (e.g., ceramics, calligraphy, textiles, metalwork) and shorter articles on individual artists and so on.
The Islamic Context
Especially if you haven’t studied Islam before, you may need to be careful about building enough religious or cultural context as you write your paper. These sources can help you.
- Oxford Islamic Studies Online
- Coverage: varies
- Collection of authoritative reference works on Islam and global Islamic history, peoples and culture. Includes Quranic studies, timelines, maps, art, and learning resources.
- The Encyclopaedia Of Islam
- Coverage: historical
- Offers basic searching of the full-text of nearly 12,000 pages of volumes I to XI and Supplement (Volume XII) of the print edition.
- Index Islamicus
- Coverage: 1906 - current
- Indexes books, journal articles, conference proceedings about Islam, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Includes the other main Muslim areas of Asia and Africa, plus Muslim minorities elsewhere.
When it comes to books, you will find books on Islam itself in the call numbers starting with BP (Tutt 3rd Floor) while you will find books on the history of Middle Eastern countries in call numbers starting with DS and DT (Tutt 3rd Floor).
But books about other subjects and how they pertain to Islam (like gender and sexuality or literature) will be in other parts of the library. When using the TIGER library catalog, try doing keyword searches that combine “islam*” with another keyword that describes your topic. (The asterisk at the end of “islam*” is what’s called a truncation symbol: you’ll get back any word starting with “islam-” like “islam,” “islamic,” “islamism,” etc.)
The Art Historical Context
Ultimately, your paper needs to be about art or architecture and not just about Islam. Ideally, you will find books, chapters, or articles that address similar issues to the ones you wish to discuss so you can create a “conversation” around those ideas in your writing.
- Art & Architecture Complete
- Coverage: 1980 - current
- Provides indexing and abstracts for more than 730 academic journals, magazines and trade publications with full text for over 330 periodicals and 215 books, as well as selective coverage for over 70 publications, and an Image Collection of over 64,000 images.
- International Bibliography Of Art (IBA)
- Coverage: 2008-current
- Bibliographic database of international scholarly literature on western art. Subjects include fine arts in all media, decorative arts, museum studies, archaeology, folk art, material culture, classical studies, antiques, and architectural history. IBA is the successor to the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA).
- Coverage: Prehistory - current
- Hundreds of thousands of digital images with descriptive information covering painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, architecture, and design, as well as many other forms of worldwide visual culture. Save groups of images for later use in ARTstor, or download or print to use in class projects, presentations, and papers. First-time users must register for an account from a computer on campus.
When searching the TIGER library catalog, think in broad strokes. You may not find entire books on the specific works you are interested in, but if you combine genre or material terms with “islam*” or the name of a country you are working on, you will have better luck.
Remember, too, that art history books are split between the basement and the third floor oversize area. It may not hurt to browse the Islamic art section at call number N6200 and following in both locations.