Overflowing with hundreds of color photographs and reproductions, this book follows the historical development of the Islamic regions and their ruling dynasties, and illustrates their varied forms of artistic expression from the birth of the religion in the 7th century to the present day. Such basic architectural elements as the four-iwan layout or the minaret, seen in many diverse modes of execution, demonstrate the independent inventiveness of regional building traditions. In the decoration of buildings or of everyday objects, ornamentation-that most recognizable of all Islamic art forms-displays its endless creativity. In the restrained yet inventive brick and tile ornamentation of Uzbekistan, as well as in the bright, naturalistic arabesques of India and Iran, and the geometrical ornamentation of Spain and the Maghreb, the abundant forms of expression celebrate the riches and beauty of Allah's creation. This impulse also inspired the colorful and fantastical book illustrations and calligraphy, sumptuous tapestries, extravagant metalwork, ceramics, and jewelry showcased here.