Visual Arts

Pakistan has a rich history in all the visual arts�painting, architecture, textiles and decorative arts, and sculptures.  Traditionally, visual arts in Pakistan have been influenced by Islam�s preference for geometric shapes. These ancient designs often look �modern� to people in the West.  Today, Pakistani artists produce a vast array of visual arts in both traditional and modern designs.

Two-Dimensional Arts

Pakistani artists paint on many surfaces�canvas, paper, walls, even furniture and trucks, in styles based on traditional techniques and patterns and modern processes alike.


Although there is ancient sculpture, most sculpture in Pakistan is relatively new. Today, sculptures of people and animals as well as abstract forms are made using materials both ancient and evolving.


Pakistan�s stoneworkers have built magnificently for centuries, but in today�s skyline, ancient buildings are complimented by new structures including government buildings and elaborate mosques with the simple lines of modern architecture.

Decorative Arts

Decorative arts are found inside buildings as pottery, carpets, and fabrics, and even on people as leather, jewelry, and textiles. These handcrafts are a hallmark of Pakistani art.

Crafts of Pakistani Artists <

Pakistani crafts people excel at weaving, metalwork, and pottery. Knotted woolen carpets with Islamic designs are part of the culture in both South Asia and the Middle East. In Pakistan, Karachi and Lahore are important centers for the production of fine carpets. Textiles such as bedspreads and shawls are popular, and the Sindh and Baloch people are known for their mirror embroidery, where small mirrors are stitched into the fabric to create glittery masterpieces.

Ceramics and glazed pottery are among the oldest art forms in Pakistan, dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization (2500 B.C.E.). The most popular techniques used include engraving intricate designs into the undercoating of the pottery and then glazing it with colored transparent glazes. Another popular technique is to apply blue designs over white glazes. Pakistani potters are responsible for making the elaborate tiles that decorate mosques and public buildings.

Metalwork, including inlaid or engraved swords, boxes, dishes, and tea sets made from silver and gold, as well as jewelry with precious stones and pearls, are important crafts. Jewelry is not limited to necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. Pakistani women wear hair and forehead decorations, and nose ornaments are not uncommon.

Leatherwork and basketry are also important crafts. Sindh baskets are colorful and intricate, while weavers in the Northwest Frontier prefer geometric patterns.