Totally Tiles

The history of tiles dates to 4000 BC when Egyptians decorated their houses with blue-glazed bricks. Mesopotamia, the Assyrians and China (206 BC - 221 CE) also used glazed bricks. In the 8th century, Muslims defeated a Chinese army and contacts with China grew. Chinese prisoners introduced artistic techniques including the making of fine ceramics. Within a short time, Muslims developed these skills and began to produce ceramics in an Islamic style.
Muslims began the art of lustre-painting to put better designs on tiles. Islamic tiles were produced in Iraq, Egypt (10th century), Persia (13th century) and Central Asia. Musjids, Madrasahs and palaces in Central Asia were decorated with brilliantly-coloured tiles, some of which can still be seen today. The Dome of the Rock (Palestine) was tiled by Sulaiman the Magnificent in 1545. Tile-making spread to Muslim Turkey (16th century) and Iznik pottery is legendary.
The Muslim world influenced Byzantine tiles: designs based on Arabic Kufic script appear on Byzantine wares. By the 11th century, Mediterreanean countries began to show the influence of Islamic tiles. Muslims in Spain and Portugal introduced ceramic tile-making there and up to today these areas are famed for their tiles. From Spain it spread to Italy, Germany, Holland and Britain. Portuguese mosaic tile decoration called Azulejos (from the Arabic for ceramic mosaic) was introduced by Muslims to Spain and Portugal and it spread from there to the Azores, Madeira, Brazil and Mexico where they had a tremendous impact. This style is still used in South/Central America today.