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Unit Six: From the City to the Steppe—Art Beyond the Royal Court

Dado panel

Dado panel, 10th century. Iran, Nishapur. Stucco; carved

Throughout the Islamic world, people from all walks of life bought, commissioned, and collected works of art. Artistic patronage by the non-ruling classes of society—such as merchants, nomads, scholars, and members of the wealthy urban elite—reflect the importance of art in daily life and the universal appeal of beautiful objects. The chapters in this unit explore the art of three disparate societies: medieval Nishapur, a mercantile city along the Silk Road; the nomadic Turkmen people of Central Asia; and the urban elite of eighteenth-century Damascus, a provincial center of the Ottoman empire.

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