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Shared motifs and designs in the art of diverse cultures along the Silk Route provide some of the most visible evidence of cultural transmission between China and the Islamic world. Through trade, tribute, gift exchange, and the spread of religions such as Buddhism, Manichaeism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, imagery associated with one artistic tradition was often adapted or incorporated in another cultural context.

A blue-and-white Iranian dish with Chinese cloud collar motifs illustrates how motifs evolved or were reinterpreted. The blue-and-white inspiration from China underwent several transformations in Iran as well as in the Ottoman Empire, where designs were combined with new colors and motifs to create the celebrated Iznik style of ceramics.

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