Art can be a dynamic and creative portal for students to gain an understanding of the world around them. Awareness of the global community is particularly essential in the current era of social, economic, and political change. We therefore take great pleasure in presenting to teachers and their students this publication, Art of the Islamic World: A Resource for Educators, which provides insight into the complexity and diversity of Islamic regions and cultures—from the Middle East to North Africa, Europe, and Central and South Asia—and illustrates the beauty and intricacy of their artistic production over the course of twelve centuries.
Since its founding, education has been at the core of the Metropolitan Museum's mission. This institution has always been an important resource for educators and students in their exploration and study of world cultures. Art of the Islamic World exemplifies our continued commitment to support teachers in their efforts to bring art into their classrooms and excite their students with direct experiences of the works in our galleries through school visits. In fact, key to ensuring that this publication would be useful and relevant to classroom teachers was the focused involvement of an advisory group of their peers from New York schools, who helped develop and test the lessons with their students.
This project is also the result of a close collaboration among the Museum's curators of Islamic art and educators and publications staff of the Education Department. We thank this team for successfully shaping this guide as an essential and practical introduction for K–12 teachers at all grade levels and across disciplines. We also thank The Olayan Group for its generous commitment to fostering a better understanding of Islamic culture in young people. In addition, we are grateful to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for supporting this resource and thereby strengthening the diverse and vibrant cultural life of New York City and its schools.
We know that the educational value of this material will be realized in classrooms not only in New York but also across the globe, underscoring the interconnectedness of cultures today and fostering global awareness and understanding among students. We encourage teachers and their students to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection, or that of a museum closer to home, as there is no substitute for the direct, intimate, and often transformative experience of seeing works of art in person.
Thomas P. Campbell
Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman for Education
Sheila R. Canby
Patti Cadby Birch Curator in Charge
Department of Islamic Art