Learn more about the historic relationships which have shaped Chinese and Islamic art since the 9th century.
1 JAN 31 DEC
Museum of Islamic Art

Learn more about the historic relationships which have shaped Chinese and Islamic art since the 9th century. Take the self-guided walking tour through the permanent galleries at the Museum of Islamic Art to explore some of the remarkable Chinese objects in the collection.

These objects reflect both the trade and commerce between the Islamic world and China via the ‘Silk Road’ as well as the exchange of artistic ideas and techniques. Porcelain, textiles and paper were traded to the Middle East whilst glass, minerals and spices were traded back to China.

Cross Cultural Influences

Islamic artistic influence in China was at its height during the first centuries following the Islamic conquest after the 7th century. The influence of Chinese art in the Islamic world was mainly in reflected in ceramics and other small arts.

Since the earliest trade with China, potters from the Islamic world tried to replicate the fine white-bodied ceramics they so admired.

Ceramics in the Middle East were usually thick but relatively fragile and early attempts to recreate Chinese porcelain focused on the use of a white glaze. Several centuries later the Islamic craftsmen developed fritware, a paste with small quantities of clay and glass which, when fired, imitated the white porcelain of China. In China, the cobalt blue mined in Iraq provided the stunning colors for their blue and white ceramics which were then traded back to the Islamic world.

Calligraphy is one of the most prestigious art forms in both Islamic and Chinese cultures. This may stem from the particular status accorded to religious texts of the Quran and Confucius.

It was from China that fine paper was first brought into the Islamic world and so it is unsurprising that unique forms of Islamic calligraphy have emerged in China, the most formal style of which is the Chinese or Sini script which is a rounded, flowing script, whose letters are thick and tapered.

A museum guide, guided tour, online tour and workshops are available to compliment this activity as part of the Qatar China Year of Culture 2016.

We look forward to seeing you at MIA! Tell us what you think!