Islamic art or Modern Islamic art paintings encomasses all visual arts produced by culturally Islamic populations, ranging from architecture, calligraphy, glass, pottery and textile arts. One of the most distinctive features of Islamic art is the use of arabesque, which is a repetitive, stylized form of artistic decoration that relies on rhythmic linear patterns of interlacing tendrils or foliage. Arabesque is often used to symbolize the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of God.
Islamic Art and Islamic designs is typically characterized by a lack of figures and extensive use of calligraphic, geometric and abstract floral patterns, stemming from interpretations that emphasise aniconism. This is not to say that there is no Islamic art that depicts figures. Some Islamic Art, most notably from Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India, often depicted human figures. This was done more in an attempt to tell or illustrate a story and did not in any way attempt to circumvent the restriction on idol worship.
Mughal painting emerged from Persian miniatures, but developed over time as it developed a far greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian art and patterns. The subjects of these portraits were quite varied and included portraits, events and scenes from court life, wildlife and hunting scenes, and illustrations of battles. The tradition of miniatures continued in a modified form, as Mughal Emperors would maintain diaries which would be richly decorated by notable artists such as Farrukh Beg, Bichitr, Ustad Mansur, Daswanth and Abu Al-Hasan, as did the tradition of framing the paintings with stylized borders. The traditions of the Mughal painters heavily influenced the contemporary Indian Art that was being produced around the same time.
While there is a tradition of Islamic wall-paintings, especially in the Persian cultures, the best-surviving and most developed form of painting is miniature paintings in illuminated manuscripts.
Calligraphic design is ever-present in Islamic artwork and Islamic designs. Most miniature paintings and Islamic art architecture- and even tiles and metalwork- contain at least some amount of calligraphy. The Qur'an has played an important role in the development and evolution of the Arabic language, and by extension, calligraphy in the Arabic alphabet.
The text of the calligraphy varies based on the Islamic artwork, and could be religious, poetic or even a simple inscription of ownership or donation. Yet, its presence is almost universal across various media, which is hardly surprising given the reverence that Islamic artists and Islamic art connoisseurs hold for the art of calligraphy.