Iran; 17th century; stonepaste; painted and polychrome glazed. From Safavid Iran, this tile panel titled “Poetic Joust” shows a young prince writing and reciting poetry to his teacher. (Image courtesy of American Public Television)

Great Museums: The Art of Islam at the Met and the Louvre explores the splendor of Islamic art on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and The Louvre in Paris.

The term “Islamic art” — coined by 19th century art historians — includes all art produced in Muslim lands from the 7th century forward, from Spain to Morocco, Egypt, the Middle East, Central Asia and India, to the borders of China.

Spain; 10th century; ivory with carved and engraved decoration. Carved from a single ivory tusk, featuring scenes from the Spanish Umayyad Court in Cordoba, Spain. (Image courtesy of American Public Television)

Narrated by Philippe de Montebello, the former director of The Met, this edition of Great Museums examines the extraordinary artistic masterpieces in the museums’ Islamic Art collections, and reveals a surprising number of connections that unite Western and Islamic traditions, in art, science, and literature.


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