Many centers of innovations and excellence emerged in Basra, Damascus, Tabriz and later in Iznik. Islamic pottery was often influenced by Chinese ceramics, whose achievements were greatly admired and emulated. The bold floral motifs seen in the medieval period is an example of the Chinese influence. The medieval Islamic world also had pottery with painted animal and human figures.
Tiles were used for decoration of interior and exterior walls and domes of mosques and palaces. The distinctive Islamic tradition of glazed and brightly colored tiles is commonly seen in mosques and mausoleums across Iran and Iraq. Some earlier works create designs using mixtures of tiles each of a single color that are cut to shape to create abstract geometric patterns. Later large ornate painted schemes use tiles painted before firing as seen in Persia.
In some cases letters of inscriptions, may be molded in three-dimensional relief. At other times the clay would be poured into a mold to create intricate arabesque and calligraphy patterns as seen in Alhambra.
Artisans inscribed calligraphy on tiles covering the interior of domes and columns and the Arabesque patterns provided the decorative elements