Thursday, 27 October 2016

Book Review: Islamic Art by David Talbot Rice

Islamic ArtIslamic Art by David Talbot Rice
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a classic and much-reprinted primer on the highlights of Islamic art. I got the 1975 revised Thames & Hudson edition for free at a library giveaway (yippee!) so this is the edition I'm reviewing. I found the text clear and wide ranging. While it didn't go into as much detail as I would have liked, this is meant as a short introduction to a huge subject and does that quite well. I've studied Islamic art in a casual way for 25 years now and I still learned a lot from the text.

My main complaint is that the illustrations aren't up to par. Most are in somewhat grainy black and white and don't do these magnificent works of art justice. Even some of the images of illustrated manuscripts are in black and white. There are several color plates in this book but they are not of terribly good quality. I recommend this book for anyone looking to learn more about one of the world's great art traditions, but suggest that you look for a later, better illustrated edition.

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