This exhibition is the first major presentation of Qur’ans in the United States – the curators couldn’t have picked more magnificent examples to share with the American public. Almost 60 sumptuous manuscripts, created from Herat to Istanbul between the early 8th and the 17th century, from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul are featured in The Art of the Qur’an.
Celebrated for their superb calligraphy and lavish illumination, these manuscripts play a significant role in the history of the arts of the book in the Islamic world. The volumes were once the prized possessions of Ottoman sultans, queens, pashas and viziers, who presented them as gifts to other rulers, as rewards to noblemen or endowed them to important public institutions. Together, the manuscripts convey stories of personal piety and political power that are explored in this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.
The website has lots of interactive features, including the ability to digitally explore manuscripts and trace the journey of various volumes. The museum is also offering tours of the exhibition and workshops on calligraphy and bookmaking. A symposium titled ‘The Word Illuminated: Form and Function of Qur’anic Manuscripts’ will run from December 1–3.