Islamic Art in Context : Among the greatest and least understood areas of art is that of the Islamic nations and peoples. Robert Irwin, an expert in the arts of Islam and a compelling writer, takes the reader deep into the cultures in which some of the world's most splendid art was created. Working thematically, he surveys the refined and exquisite arts of porcelain, enamel, manuscript illumination, metalwork, calligraphy, textiles - and more - within a larger picture of a powerful faith, a profound tradition and a magnificent history. Writing in a lively and engaging style, Irwin places this complex art in context. He pays close attention to patronage, to how works of art are used and displayed, to the traditions within the Islamic cultures of fine craftsmanship, and to the shifting relationship of art to religious practice and belief.