The Abbasids and their Vassals
Abbasid art marks the beginning of a distinctly Islamic style of decoration. The vocabulary adopted from late Antique art gave way to broader influences and a spirit of experimentation. The example of imported Chinese porcelain, for example, spurred the development of Abbasid ceramics. Some wares openly copied contemporary Tang splashware, while others featured austere geometric forms. A development of vital importance for Islamic ceramics was the rise of the lustre technique, which probably began on glass but was most famously used to make potted wares glitter like precious metal. Other Abbasid arts included luxury textiles, known to have been a major industry of the period, but surviving in only a few examples. The Abbasid period also witnessed the first canonisation of styles of the Arabic script and, by extension, the development of beautifully written and ornamented Qur'an manuscripts.

The term “Abbasid” refers to the far-flung empire of the caliphate, but some regions were governed by vassals under whose patronage important works of art were produced, such as the Qur'ans made in North Africa. The Tulunids of Egypt were fond of exquisitely carved or inlaid wood – a luxury material in a desert climate.
Ceramic bowl
Hegira 3rd– 4th/ AD 9th–10th century
Abbasid, possibly during the Buyid Dynasty, also known as the Buwayhids
National Museum of Damascus
Damascus, Syria
Abbasid potters strove to imitate the whiteness of Chinese porcelain.