Undergraduate Degree




DR2010 Islamic Art and Design

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To bring about an appreciation and understanding of Islamic Art and Design forms, and their contribution in enriching world culture. To assimilate the key concepts of Islamic Art and apply them to contemporary art and design projects.


The student will be introduced to the basic tenets of Islam and their influence in the developments and achievements of Islamic Arts since the beginning of Islam to the present times, to explain the unique contribution of Islamic Arts to the world culture. Islamic art will be examined through its architecture, calligraphy, illuminated manuscripts, miniature paintings and the adorned object. Teaching will be through field trips to museums, invited talks, key texts and study assignments. Design assignments will be set to explore and understand core concepts of Islamic arts, and apply them in contemporary art and design context.


Course Outline




• Introduction to the course

2 - 6

• The basic tenets of Islam and the Holy Qur’an

• The unique contribution of the Islamic Arts to the world culture, and its interaction with the Arabic, Persian, Indian, European, Chinese, and  Southeast Asian cultures.

• Non-representational art: geometry, abstraction and tiling 

• The Holy word: Islamic calligraphy with its scripts, and the art of the book in in Islam 

• Islamic Architectural Forms and principles of Islamic architecture

• The embellished object: the act of adorning and enhancing

• The Court Arts and the Royal patronage 

• Poetry, Music and the Performing Arts of Islam


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• Work on group and individual projects to explore, understand and apply the precepts of Islamic Art to contemporary art and design practice.


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

The students will have an understanding and appreciation of Islamic Art forms: their range and creative contribution to world culture, their unique visual and structural characteristics, and their aesthetics. The students would also be able to integrate and see the Islamic Arts as a repository of creative ideas for contemporary applications and needs.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 30% Final Assessment component will take the form of a practice-based project.

  2. Continuous Assessment: 70%

Continuous assessment components will include:

  • Classroom participation, discussions, individual tasks, and assignments


Recommended Reading/Reference:

  1. Akhtar, Nasim, Islamic Arts of India. The Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia, 2002

  2. Baker Colin F., Qur’an Manuscripts: Calligraphy, Illumination, Design. The British Library, London, 2007

  3. Barakat Heba Nayel, Rhythms and Verses: Masterpieces of Persian Calligraphy. 

    The Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia, 2005

  4. Fernier R.W., Ed., The Arts of Persia. Yale University Press, London, 1989

  5. Michell George, Ed., Architecture of the Islamic World. Thames & Hudson, London, 2002

  6. Moustafa Nisreen, Divine Inspiration: Seven Principles of Islamic Architecture. The Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia, 2008

  7. Pourjavady N. , Gen. Ed., The Splendour of Iran, 3 vols. Booth-Clibborn Editions, London 2001

  8. Rogers J.M., The Arts of Islam. Thames & Hudson, London 2010.

  9. Wright Elaine, Islam: Faith, Art, Culture. Scala, London, 2009