A glimpse at the most commonly used survey books of Islamic art and
architecture is revealing: none of them devote any attention to Indonesia, the world’s
largest Muslim country. Likewise, exhibitions of Islamic art in museums, with very few
exceptions, stop at the borders of South Asia. The exclusion of Indonesia from the field
of Islamic art can be traced back to the late 19th century when Western art historians and museums started to study the artefacts they collected from Muslim regions, and Islamic art as a field of enquiry emerged.