Pearls on a String presents the arts of historical Islamic cultures by focusing on specific people and relationships among cultural tastemakers, especially painters, calligraphers, poets, and their patrons. Through a series of chapters, the book spotlights certain historical moments from across the Islamic world. Each chapter pivots around patrons and their social networks. These independent sections allow different voices and perspectives to emerge, enabling the reader to see that Islamic societies are not monolithic but made up of a tapestry of individuals with distinct and varying views. Pearls on a String pays particular attention to individuals from different sectors of society, giving voice to anonymous artists and translators, merchants, and women of the harem. Islamic historical sources reinforce the book's themes of writing in Islamic societies, artistic patronage, biographical traditions, and human connectivity.