“The Art of the Qur’an”…

“The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures From the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts,” is a new exhibit at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. on the Mall. Most works are on loan from a museum in Istanbul, and have never been on exhibit before. As Holland Cotter writes,

“The impression of the Washington exhibition is of splendor, not just from book to book and page to page, but within individual pages, with their nested divisions, their lustrous ornaments and their sprouting, rolling, singing Arabic phrases, which form the ethical heart of a faith and a culture.” The New York Times, Nov. 10, 2016.

Read the rest of Cotter’s review here. This is a spectacular and important exhibit.

 Visitors studying a folio from a large Quran dating to about 1400 in the exhibition “The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures From the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts,” at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington. Credit Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

Visitors studying a folio from a large Quran dating to about 1400 in the exhibition “The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures From the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts,” at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington. Credit Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

Here is a link to the Sackler and a short video about the works.

16 thoughts on ““The Art of the Qur’an”…

  1. Emma Baumgardner

    I think that the author made a really good point about viewing the art versus experiencing it. The people that are able to read the text that is being presented to them are going to impacted more heavily than those who just view it as symbols. It made the author and myself more aware of the cultural barriers that are in place in our nation. I’m happy that this exhibit is in place so that people of all cultures can appreciate Islam’s holy text.

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  2. Jonathon Baker

    At first this post interested me due to the fact that some of these pages and pieces have not yet been on display. The fact that something so influential and so important to an enormous population throughout it’s history surprises me to have taken this long to be displayed. Looking at the pictures provided and reading the short page on it realized the intricacies and details that are put into religious documentation. We learned of the early writings on animal skin and this being a few centuries later still emphasizes the importance and diligence needed and expected for religious text in the past.

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  3. Nick Buccella

    The author made a bold choice with this exhibit. An amazing choice in fact. Bringing handwritten beautiful copies of the Qur’an of all shapes and sizes in the first exhibit of its kind in America. With all that is going on in our country with the hate for this religion it is a beautiful symbol of peace. Trying to show how beautiful Islam can be and how important it is to it’s followers is extremely important for today’s world. Especially in a country like ours that is consumed in hate.

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  4. Margaret Sandner-Gialamas

    It often fascinates me in work like this — the exquisite level of detail that goes into such a small area. Looking at these images of pages only through a computer screen, one can see intricate drawings, vibrant colors, writing as gorgeous as some of the finer works of art, all repeated over and over on each page. The level of dedication and patience shown through each page is truly astounding. And this form of art truly says a lot about the way they revere their religion.

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  5. Avery Haislip

    The fact that the author brought beauty to religious scripts sheds a new light on historical art; not only is the Qur’an viewed as art for its prevalince and history within the Islamic religion and its followers, but it also acts as a connecting point between all people, depicting the ideas and wonders of people during that period of time and how the same sheets of paper connect millions today.

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  6. Luis Hidalgo

    With a lot of hatred for Islam today, making the religious texts a work of art I think is a symbol for hope among humanity. Many people including Americans follow the religion of Islam and I think people need to appreciate the beauty of Islam in art as much as they do with all the references of Christianity in art. Seeing the art first hand versus just hearing about the meanings and symbols has a much larger impact on a variety of individuals.

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  7. Elisha Ayer

    If there is any time to learn more about Islam than it’s now. It’s great to see that there is such an awesome exhibit trying to show the beauty of one of the oldest religions in the world. In a time of unrest and hurtful ideas being voiced across this nation it takes exhibits like these to help educate as many people as possible to end the cycle of hate and bigotry. This timeless historical exhibit is the perfect example of giving priceless information to those who seek to learn more about the Qur’an and its beautiful art. Bravo.

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  8. Shane McKenzie

    It is great to see such a classic and important book is still being used in todays world. Especially in a world where Islam sees to be a center of attention, its great to see how important religion can still be. With such negativity going on in Islam, something that produces such positivity that the Qur’an does, its amazing to see if only everyone tried to follow what is in the Qur’an. Being able to see it in person I believe gives people a different perspective of the history and meaning of their country.

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  9. Samantha Adams

    The artwork of/in the Qur’an is beautiful, I love the colors and patterns. I love that the text is the center of the works, giving the words and phrases more meaning perhaps. I especially like the pages with large text and patterns on the side.

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  10. Vincent Smiroldo

    I think that this is an awesome showcase to have because of the rich history it holds. This showcase has text on what the Islamic Religion was build on. It would be really interesting to be able to go and see the exhibits and learn more about one of the most practiced religions in the world. With the Islamic religion having a negative with some people it might be an eye-opening experience for them to be able to go and learn more about the religion and not just assume about it.

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  11. Denzel Saraka

    I like how the museum brought in treasures from Istanbul. It allows us to preview their culture and see how similar and dissimilar it is to our own. It also allows us to expel any previous negative notions we may of had about Islam and build new positive ideas about the religion.

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  12. Jacob Atkinson

    When the author discusses the different ways of viewing these texts, between seeing and experiencing them, it made me consider how I might see them. They are truly stunning works of art in nature, but the reality of what they represent is practically an entire culture. If I were to understand what the texts meant, or even be more educated towards the culture tied to these beautifully delicate pages, I would be able to appreciate the depth of its meaning properly. Either way it is wonderful to consider that anyone can be left breathless in the beauty of these texts, regardless of who they are, there is a certain undeniable sense of ethereal significance when your eyes meet the page.

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  13. Emily Siegfried

    Islamic art is one of my favorite types of art, and it is also rarely recognized, so I’m thrilled to see that there was an exhibit in DC finally acknowledging how beautiful it is. I think people have this notion of Islam because of politics, but when one finally takes the time to learn and see what the religion is about, they’ll find that it is actually rather peaceful. That peace is certainly shown in their art! I wish I had known about this exhibit sooner so I could have gone.

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  14. Allyson Kraft

    This article caught my attention because of the rareness of seeing this skillful works of art. Not only are they truly beautiful, they often allow observers to appreciate another culture. It brings those who would not normally be able to or even have a desire to see something different. I can only truly appreciate living in the DC area because of all the blending of cultures and monumental opportunities to learn. And lastly the amount of detail that is put into the works is astounding, small, detailed, and repetitive. There truly is beauty in the simple things.

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  15. stephanie overbeck

    Reading this article was really cool. It’s always nice to read about different cultures and about what they believe. I love looking at other art and I liked reading about the book they read and also how they went into details about their religion and the book. This book is timeless because people still read it and use it within their faith.

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  16. Keegan Wieland

    Although I don’t know Arabic, I really appreciate the language and its nuances. I’m a religion major so I read a lot of texts from the Quran, so it’s great to see an exhibit that shows the book, and others, in its original Arabic. There is something fascinating about the way Arabic looks. It seems to not only be a form of communicating ideas through words, but also an art form. Seeing mosques with Arabic decorating the exterior shows the kind of pride that the Muslim community takes in their holy language. I really do think that there should be more exhibits showing the original texts of not only Islam but other religions as well we are less familiar with such as Buddhism and Jainism. Great read.

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