Though the title may be vaguely broad, I have two specific things in mind I wanted to ask about.
While I was recently considering the cultural and technological advancements of Europeans in the early Middle Ages, which was soon to be spread by them to the New World, I also began to consider Islamic history and cultural advancement at that same time (especially - for them - in areas of science, literature, and mathematics), and particularly in North Africa where some of the the Portuguese had contact and intermingled with Muslims through trade. So along parallel historical tracks I began to wonder at the comparative development between Renaissance Era European culture and Islamic culture at that time, and pursuant to that a few unusual questions arose in my mind.
In particular I was wondering about two innovations of the Europeans of which I have never heard mention of their first use in the Islamic world (in terms of their initial adoption, though of course in the modern world there is hardly any distinction now): Firstly, use of the printing press; and secondly, the use of canvas (hemp-weaved) for painting (which first took off in Italy). In terms of technological advancement I'd say the former is more significant and utilitarian, while the argument about the "sophistication" of using canvas for art seems more subjective and preference driven (whatever its actual practical and aesthetic advantages may have been), though I still am curious about it. So to plainly state my two questions:
- When was the first recorded use of a printing press in Muslim lands? (Note: I am not asking what the first Islamic book printed on a printing press was, given that it might very well have been from a printing press operating in Europe. I want to know about actual adoption of the printing press in Muslim lands.)
- What is the oldest known Islamic work of art composed on canvas?
It may be taken for granted now that Islamic countries use both, but since they appear to be exclusively European innovations at that time of the Renaissance Islamic adoption of it must have been taken from them at some later time. Islamic art was of course prolific at that time, but I've never heard of Islamic use of canvas during the Middle Ages, for example.
Also, although I am especially interested to know the answer to those questions specifically in instances outside of the European continent, in terms of spread of influence I have to wonder if the Muslim held portions of Spain during the Renaissance Era were perhaps the earliest adopters of those technologies for printing and art.
Can anyone provide at least a rough guess for when those two things first appeared in the Muslim world, even if we do not know the actual earliest instances precisely?