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Painting in Islamic Art (8th-16th Centuries)

Research Sources & Tips



1. Background Information, Images and Primary Sources

2. Reserves and Books

3. Journal Articles

4. Writing and Citing Sources


1. Background Information, Images and Primary Sources

Definitions and Overviews


Primary Sources


87 Thematic Essays on Islamic Art and More
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.)

The Grove Islamic Art and Architecture

Oxford Art Online



Artifact (Tufts University)

Islamic Manuscripts Online

Discover Islamic Art

Miniatures from the Topkapi Museum (Istanbul)

The Digital Scriptorium

(medieval and renaissance manuscripts from many institutions.

More Manuscripts

Index of Christian Art


The Muslim World 1100-1700: Early Sources on Middle East History, Geography and Travel. DS38.3 .M88 2007

Early Medieval art, 300-1150; Sources and Documents N5975 .D3


2. Reserves and Books

A. Use Library Catalogs for Reserves and Books

B. Sample Searches:

(note the search pattern; modify to your own needs)


1. Course Reserves


2. Tufts Libraries Catalog

3. WorldCat (beyond Tufts)

1. Subject Browse:

Islamic art


Islamic art -- Egypt

Islamic art -- Iran

Islamic art, Turkey


Islamic art -- Mediterranean Region


Art, Sassanid

Art, Medieval -- Spain

Islamic art Spain

Art -- Italy -- Venice


Islamic calligraphy

Islamic painting

Islamic pottery


Coptic mural painting and decoration



Illumination of books and manuscripts

Illumination of books and manuscripts, Arab

Islamic illumination of books and manuscripts

Illumination of books and manuscripts, Iranian

Miniature painting, Iranian



Koran -- Illustrations


Illustration of books -- Arab countries


Literature, Medieval -- Illustrations


Art and literature -- Islamic countries  


Art and literature -- History To 1500


Firdawsī. Shāhnāmah -- Illustrations


Science -- Islamic countries -- History


2. Keyword Searches



Mosaics and "Middle East"


mosaics and turkey


mosaics and palestin*

A particular issue, Christian elements/influences:

egypt* and art* and christian* and (Medieval or "middle ages")



1. include "and" in between keywords;

2. "or" and ( ) to nest related/varied expressions;

3. art* for art, arts, artists, etc.


*Try using historical terms such as "Persia", "Ottoman", "Iberia", Al Andalus, Caliph, Caliphal, as well.




3. Find Exhibition/Museum Catalogues

Islamic Art -- Exhibitions

These exhibition and museum catalogues are uniquely valuable sources, which may include:

*Fundamental data on each work of art;

*Official images of the artworks;

*Curatorial statements/essays;

*essays by art critics/historians;

*list of scholarly publications on the art;

*interviews with artists;

*and more.


3. Journal Articles and More

A. Subject Databases:

B. Searching Tips:

C. Finding Full Text

1. JSTOR and Project Muse

Two favorite collections of core journals of all disciplines.


2. Period Studies:

International Medieval Bibliography (400-1500).

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400 -1700).



3. Search across these subjects or separately:

Art, Architecture, Islamic Studies, and Literature



4. Explore your topic from other perspectives:

History, Religion, and Women's Studies



5. Dissertations & Theses


6. When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.


1. Find More Articles like this "perfect" one


Search, in Arts and Humanities Citation Index, for the article you have read. For example the article in your syllabus:

King, David A. "Astronomical Alignments in Medieval Islamic Religious Architecture."Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 385 (1982) 303-312.
References: 32 Times Cited: 6

You can, then, look up, in the record, the 32 references that King cited for his article and, in turn, 6 articles that cited his. The assumption is that these articles address related issues.


1. Not every single article is cited;
2. Influential authors are cited more often;
3. More recent publications take time to be cited.


2. Find "Literature Review"

Reviews of recent books and other types of review articles in major journals in a discipline are likely to summarize the current state of research in an area.

An example of review of Books:

Brend, Barbara. "Figurative Art in Medieval Islam and the Aiddle of Bihzad of Herat (1465-1535). Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 17 (2007) 64-68.


Recently Published Reviews


1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.


A Few Core Journals:

Dumbarton Oaks Papers

Early Medieval Europe

Essays in Medieval Studies


Medieval Encounters


Studies in Iconography


International Journal of Middle East Studies

Islamic Studies

Journal of Near Eastern Studies

Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

The Middle East Journal



The Art Bulletin.

Art History

Architectural History

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians


4. Writing and Citing


A Short Guide to Writing about Art by Sylvan Barnet. Oversize: N7476 .B37 2011  

Writing the Art History paper (Dartmouth Writing Program)


Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors



Chicago Style Manual