Friday, October 28, 2016

The Art of the Qur’an – landmark exhibit shows holy book as text and work of art

By Vanessa H Larson
The single-volume Qur’an from late 16th-century Shiraz that was acquired by Sultan Selim II’s wife, Nurbanu. Photograph: Supplied
WASHINGTON, DC---The last significant survey of Islam’s holy book in the west was held at the British Museum in London in 1976. Into that void comes the first major exhibit on the Qur’an in the United States, "The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts," at the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC. On display are more than 60 richly decorated manuscripts that span nearly a millennium, cover a vast area of the Islamic world and encompass an array of styles and formats, from simple sheets of parchment to large bound tomes. The exhibit offers “an unparalleled view of some of the greatest [Islamic] calligraphy, illumination and binding”, said museum director Julian Raby. [link]

Massumeh Farhad, left, and Simon Rettig, curators of the exhibit, look at pages from a 5ft-by-7ft Qur’an displayed at the Sackler Gallery in Washington. Photograph: Molly Riley/AP