Islamic influences on Western art
Islamic influences on Western art refers to the influence of Islamic art, the artistic production in the Islamic world from the 8th to the 19th century, on Christian art. During this period, the frontier between Christendom and the Islamic world varied a lot resulting in some cases in exchanges of populations and of corresponding art practices and techniques. Furthermore, the two civilizations had regular relationships through diplomacy and trade that facilitated cultural exchanges.Islamic decorative arts were highly valued imports to Europe throughout the Middle Ages; largely because of unsuspected accidents of survival the majority of surviving examples are those that were in the possession of the church. In the early period textiles were especially important, used for church vestments, shrouds, hangings and clothing for the elite. Islamic pottery of everyday quality was still preferred to European wares. Because decoration was mostly ornamental, or small hunting scenes and the like, and inscriptions were not understood, Islamic objects did not offend Christian sensibilities.In the early centuries of Islam the most important points of contact between the Latin West and the Islamic world from an artistic point of view were Southern Italy and Sicily and the Iberian peninsula, which both held significant Muslim populations. Later the Italian maritime republics were important in trading artworks. In the Crusades Islamic art seems to have had relatively little influence even on the Crusader art of the Crusader kingdoms, though it may have stimulated the desire for Islamic imports among Crusaders returning to Europe. Numerous techniques from Islamic art formed the basis of art in the Norman-Arab-Byzantine culture of Norman Sicily, much of which used Muslim artists and craftsmen working in the style of their own tradition. Techniques included inlays in mosaics or metals, ivory carving or porphyry, sculpture of hard stones, and bronze foundries. In Iberia the Mozarabic art and architecture of the Christian population living under Muslim rule remained very Christian in most ways, but showed Islamic influences in other respects; much what was described as this is now called Repoblación art and architecture. After the Reconquista Mudéjar styles produced by Muslim or Morisco artists now under Christian rule showed clear Islamic influence in many ways.