Surface decoration has always played a fundamental role in Islamic architecture. As human representation is forbidden in Islamic religious monuments, designers employed mosaics, stucco, brickwork and ceramics, and the vigorous use of brilliant colour to reach unparalleled heights of expression. It is this ornamental dimension of Islamic architecture that is explored in this magnificent volume. Rather than limiting itself to an exclusively historical or chronological perspective, Ornament and Decoration in Islamic Architecture presents four successive approaches to its subject. The first part offers an overview of Islamic architecture, discussing the great diversity it contains. Dealing exclusively with techniques, the second part considers the materials most often used as well as the expertise of the builders and Muslim decorative artists, and the third part explores themes in Islamic ornamentation. Section four discusses aesthetics, and studies the relationship between the buildings ¬ñ the structures or their architectonic components ¬ñ and their ornamental coverings. Each of these topics is presented through a number of outstanding examples and then through comparable monuments from all over the Islamic world. For anyone in thrall to such great wonders as the Taj Mahal and the Alhambra, and for everyone interested in the world of Islam, this lavish publication will be indispensable.