What we call ‘progress’ is often defined by a Eurocentric view of history which sees the Industrial Revolution that occurred from the late eighteenth century onwards in a positive light, because of its role in what is seen as the triumph of Western culture over the East. The Industrial Revolution brought about new methods and materials of production, which indeed changed matters profoundly in art and architecture. However, this was to the detriment of ‘traditional’ means of training, production and patronage pretty much everywhere in the world (including Europe), not just in the Islamic world.

In the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, many art forms and modes of production in Europe were marginalised into the realms of ‘traditional art’, ‘minor arts’ or ‘vernacular architecture’ whilst sculpture and painting were elevated in status as individualistic art forms. Similarly, in the Ottoman empire, especially after the establishment of the Fine Arts Academy (Sanayi-i Nefise) on the model of the Beaux-Arts School in Paris, forms of Islamic art such as calligraphy and manuscript illumination were marginalised but continued to be practiced by traditional artists and craftsmen, who learned their trades in a master-to-apprentice chain of transmission through practice.


A source where you might find answers to this question:

Gözde Çelik (ed.). Geç Osmanlı Döneminde Sanat Mimarlık ve Kültür Karşılaşmaları. Istanbul: İş Bamkası Yayınları, 2018.