The Islamic Art Collection


The Islamic art collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA.

Islamic art influences our home environment as much as every other part in our lives.

Great art that seemed to evoke some sort of meaning as the Islamic arts seem to portray is a wonderful and valuable addition to our lives.

When we talk about tiles that have come to us from this region the history is rich and the product awe inspiring. Few understand the rhythm and sequence of the Moorish styles that are as complex as age itself. Some say it was a study upon the starts and some say that it was complex art at it’s best. No matter what we can not deny that the depth and beauty that it can add to our own environment.

Custom tile making is the best way for you to explore your own style within this area of expertise. Work with experienced artisans that can help you realize your dream home.

Whether we talk about the extreme geometry used in the Moorish styles in Morocco to, name just one area,

Islamic Tile Art

Elements of Islamic Tile Art

Airwa_moorish tilemadia- moorish-tiles  Moorish Fountian - Morocco



History of Ceramic Tiles

Throughout history we see the desire man has had to create a space that has beauty and that reflects the traditions, ideas and philosophy that he/she has.

The earliest paint workshop was discovered Circa 100,000 BCE in South Africa where early man started mixing colors to beautify himself and his surroundings. Later details of cave paintings and figurative art started coming to fruition.


Detail of the “Panel of Hands” from the El Castillo Cave (Photo Courtesy of the University of Bristol).

Ceramic tiles have been in existence for 4000 years..and along with pottery, have had an essential role in helping us discover many, many civilizations and traditions from ancient times long gone.

The exciting thing about pottery (along with tiles) is that “as one archeologist put it, pottery may be easy to break, but it’s hard to destroy.”

For hundreds of years, layer upon layer of debris and trash from past civilizations all over the earth, each showing us the characteristics and ways of life of the people who discarded them. How they produced these, how they presented them, and the colors and types of glazes they used all help us to understand the indelible styles different civilizations used to portray their art, their style, and their ideas.

For example, see here a paragraph I found in historical literature.

“Some beautiful Syrian tiles painted with undulating flowers and patterns in the Chinese style decorate to this day the early 15th-century tomb of al-Tawrizi, in Damascus. More extraordinary, the same—or very similar—tiles are found in the Murad II mosque at Adrianople, on the modern frontier between Greece and Turkey. This mosque was built by the Ottoman Turks in 1433, and the striking resemblance between its tiles and those in Damascus suggests that imported Syrian craftsmen almost certainly made them.”

In any case, from the research done so far, it seems that the earliest tiles that were found are form roof tiles in the third millennium, which is a period of time that began on January 1, 2001, and ended on December 31, 3000, of the Gregorian calendar.  This eventually brought in the need for stone walls which could be the only support offered to a heavy tiles roof.

Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile

Ceramic Tile vs. Porcelain Tile

There are several differences between these two bases that we often use for our hand-painted ceramic tiles.

The ceramic tiles tend to expand more with temperature and can show some sensitivity in areas where there are variable changes in the temperature.  These types of tiles are also more porous than the porcelain tile.

Most are concerned when it comes to swimming pools. If, for example, you have a swimming pool let’s say in Chicago; without maintenance, you may find that this type of base is more likely to crack.

We have found that when our customers empty out the pool during the winter months then the tiles will reliably stay in good condition until the spring/summer months. We have had customers who have had no problems using this type of method, in extreme weather conditions like Chicago.

In places like where the temperature and weather variations are similar to Los Angeles,  ceramic tiles have been used in fountains and swimming pools with no problems in terms of cracking or other unprovoked damage to the tile.

For high traffic areas…we always recommend that porcelain is used in this application just because the porcelain tiles have less shrinkage due to temperature changes; and because these tiles tend to be more durable in these types of applications more than the ceramic tile may be, thus needing less upkeep in the years to come.

In terms of coloring, porcelain with the white background gives some colors a more brilliant light whereas the quarry tiles with the rust ground coloring can give more warmth to the coloring.