Islamic Calligraphy & the Qur'an

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Islamic Calligraphy and the Qur’an : 

Islamic Calligraphy and the Qur’an Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur’an & Traces of the Calligrapher: Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600-1900

Slide 2: 

Folio from a Qur’an in Hijazi script: sura 15(aj-Hijr): middle 58-99 (rector); sura 16 (al-Nahl, “The Bees”):; 1-20 (verso), verso illustrated, Hijaz, possibly Medina, mid-7th century, ink on parchment, 14 ¼ x 10 5/8 inches (36 x 27 cm) (folio), private collection, TR:490-2007. Folio from a Qur’an in Hijazi script: sura 15 (al-Hijr): middle 58-99 (recto); sura 16 (al-Nahl, “The Bees”): 1-20 (verso), recto illustrated, Hijaz, possibly Medina, mid-7th century, ink on parchment, 14 ¼ x 105/8 inches (36 x 27 cm) (folio), private collection, TR:490-2007.

Slide 3: 

Folio from a Qur’an in Kufic script: sura 42 (al-Shura, “Consultation”): end 28-end 31 (recto); sura 42: end 31-end 35 (verso), verso illustrated, North Africa, early 8th century, ink and opaque pigment on parchment, 20 ½ x 24 ½ inches (52.1 x 62.2 cm) (folio), private collection, TR865-2006.A.B.

Slide 4: 

Detail of folio Folio from the “Blue Qur’an” in Kufic script: sura 2 (al-Baqara, “The Cow”): beginning 237-beginning 241 (recto), recto illustrated, North Africa, Spain or Siciliy, mid-9th to mid010th century, gold and silver on parchment, 12 ½ x 18 ½ inches (31.8 x 47 cm) (folio), private collection, TR:856-2006.

Slide 5: 

Folio from a Qur’an in Kufic script: sura 17 (Bani Isra’il, “the Children of Israel”): middle 64-end 73 (recto); sura 17: end 73-beginning 86 (verso), verso illustrated, Near East or North Africa, 9th century, ink and gold on parchment, 9 ¼ x 12 1/8 inches (23.5 x 30.7 cm) (folio), Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, bequest of Hervey E. Wetzel, 1919.158.

Slide 6: 

Folio from a Qur’an in Kufic script: sura 43 (al-Zukhruf, “Ornaments of Gold”); beginning 26-middle 36 (recto), recto illustrated, Near East, 9th century, ink and opaque pigment on parchment, 15 ¾ x 18 ½ inches (40 x 47 cm) (folio) private collection, TR:491-2007.

Slide 7: 

Bifolio from a Qur’an in Kufic script: right-hand folio, sura 2 (al-Baqara, “The Cow”): beginning 200-end 200 (verso), verso of right hand-folio and recto of left-hand folio, illustrated, Near East or North Africa, late 9th century, ink, opaque pigment and gold on parchment, 10 ¾ x 14 ¼ inches (27.2 x 36.2 cm) (each folio), private collection, TR: 489-2007.

Slide 8: 

Folio from a Qur’an in Kufic script: sura 49 (al-Hujurat, “The Inner Apartments”): middle 15-beginning 16 (recto); sura 49 beginning 16-middle 16 (verso), verso illustrated, Near East, 10th century, ink and gold on parchment, 7 ¼ x 10 ¼ inches (18.2 x 25.9 cm) (folio), Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, anonymous gift in memory of Rudolph Meyer Riefstahl (1880-1936), 1956.197.

Slide 9: 

Detail of folio Folio from a Qur’an in Maghribi script: sura 37 (al-Saffat, “Who Stand Arrayed in rows”): 18-middle 21 (recto); sura 37: middle 21-middle 24 (verso), verso illustrated, North Africa or Southern Spain, 13th century, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on parchment, 10 ½ x 8 ¼ inches (26.7 x 21 cm) (folio), private collection, TR:826-2006.

Slide 10: 

Folio from a Qur’an in Eastern Kufic script: sura 4 (al-Nisa, “The Women”): 160-beginning 161 (recto); sura 4: 161-middle 162 (verso), verso illustrated, Iran, possibly Mashhad, late 11th-early 12th centuries, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 15 1/8 x 19 1/8 inches (38.4 x 48.5 cm) (folio), Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Fund for the Acquisition of Islamic art, 1982.40.

Slide 11: 

Bifolio from a Qur’an in eastern Kufic script: right-hand folio, sura 4 (al-Nisa, “The Women”): beginning 151-middle 157 (recto); sura 4: middle 157-end 163 (verso); left-hand folio, sura 4: end 163-middle 171 (recto); sura 4 middle 171-middle 176 (verso), verso of left-hand folio and recto of right-hand folio illustrated, Iran, 12th century, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 14 x 11 7/8 inches (35.6 x 30.3 cm) (each folio), private collection, Tr:866-2006. Detail of Bifolio

Slide 12: 

Bifolio from a Qur’an in Eastern Kufic script from the Mushaf al –Hadina (The Nurse’s Qur’an”), copied by ‘Ali b. Ahmad al-Warraq: right-hand folio, sura 19 (Maryam, “Mary”) middle 9-middle 10 (recto); sura 19 , middle 10-middle 11 (verso); left-hand folio, sura 19: 28-middle 29 (recto); sura 19, middle 29-middle 31 (verso), recto of right-hand folio and verso of left-hand folio illustrated, North Africa, Kairouan, 1019-1020, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on parchment, 17 5/8 x 11 ¾ inches (44.7 x 29.9 cm) (each folio), private collection, TR:488-2007.A.B. Detail of Bifolio

Slide 13: 

Bifolio from a Qur’an in Maghribi script: right-hand side, sura 28 (al-Qasas, “The History”): middle 78-beginning 79 (recto); sura 28: middle 79-middle 80 (verso); left-hand side, sura 28: beginning 85-middle 86 (recto) sura 28: middle 86-end 87 (verso), verso of right-hand folio illustrated, North Africa, 13th-14th centuries, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on parchment, 8 x 9 7/8 inches (20.2 x 25.1 cm) (each folio) Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, bequest of Hervey E. Wetzel, 1919.157.1-2.

Slide 14: 

Folio from a Qur’an in maghribi script: sura 37 (al-Saffat, “Who Stand Arrayed in Rows”): 18-middle 21 (recto); sura 37: middle 21-middle 24 (verso), recto illustrated, North Africa or Southern Spain, 13th century, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on parchment, 10 ½ x 8 ¼ inches (26.7 x 21 cm) (folio), private collection, TR:862-2006.

Slide 15: 

Detail of folio Folio from the Qur’an in muhaqqaq script: sura 2 (al-Baqara, “The Cow”): middle 133-middle 134 (verso), verso illustrated, Egypt or Syria, 15th century, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 13 ½ x 10 1/8 inches (34.3 x 25.7 cm) (folio), private collection, TR:860-2006.

Slide 16: 

Bifolio from a Qur’an in rayhani script attributed to Arghun b. ‘Abd Allah al-Kamili; illuminated attributed to Muhammad b. Sayf al-Din al-Naqqash: right-hand folio, sura 59 (al-Hashr, “Confrontation”): middle 16-middle 23 (recto); sura 59: middle 23-sura 60 (al-Mumtahana, “The Woman Tried”) 1-middle 1 (verso); left-hand folio sura 29 (al-‘Ankabut, “The Spider”): middle 3-middle 10 (recto); sura 29: middle 10-middle 17 (verso), verso of left-hand folio and recto of right-hand folio illustrated, Iraq, probably Baghdad, c. 1335, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 14 5/8 x 10 ¾ inches (37.2 x 27.5 cm) (each folio), private collection, TR:863-2006.

Slide 17: 

Folio from a selection of the Qur’an in muhaqqaq script copied by Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Qayyum b. Muhammad b. Karamshah al-Tabrizi: sura 6 (al-An’am, “The Cattle”): middle 160-middle 161 (recto); sura 6: middle 161-beginning 164 (verso), verso illustrated, Iraq, probably Baghdad, c. 1370, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 17 x 13 ¾ inches (43.2 x 35.1 cm) (folio), private collection, TR:868-2006.

Slide 18: 

Folio with a selection from the Qur’an in muhaqqaq script: sura 27 (al-Naml): 52-55 (recto), recto illustrated, Iran, late 1400s-early 1500s, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 13 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches (35.2 x 24.8 cm) (folio), private collection, TR:850-2006.

Slide 19: 

Fragment of a Qur’an folio in muhaqqaq script attributed to ‘Umaar al’Aqta’: sura 31 (Luqman): first half 6, Central Asia, probably Samarqand, c. 1400, ink and opaque pigment on paper 8 ½ x 38 inches (21.6 x 96.5 cm) (sheet), private collection, TR:852-2006.

Slide 20: 

Detail of a folio with a selection of the Qur’an in muhaqqaq script, Iran, late 1400-early 1500s, ink, opque pigment, and gold on paper, private collection, TR:850-2006.

Slide 21: 

Calligraphers’ tools, storage box, and pen cases from Turkey, Iran and India.

Slide 22: 

Set of calligrapher’s tools, Turkey, 1800s, steel overlaid with gold; makta with bone cutting plaque, 5.6 x 0.7 inches (14.3 x 1.9 cm); penknife, 7.5 x 0.4 inches (19.1 x 1.1 cm); paper scissors, 15.6 x 1.7 inches (39.7 x 4.4 cm).

Slide 23: 

Maktas, Turkey, 1800s, right to left: steel overlaid in gold with walrus tusk cutting plaque, 5.4 x 1 inches (13.7 x 2.5 cm); steel with open work and tortoiseshell cutting plaque, 7.1 x 1 inches (18.1 x 2.5 cm); steel overlaid in gold with ivory cutting plaque, 5 x 0.7 inches (12.7 x 1.7 cm).

Slide 24: 

Maktas, Turkey, 1700s-1800s, elephant ivory and walrus tusk, lengths range from 7.4 to 5.2 inches (18.7 to 13.2 cm).

Slide 25: 

Maktas, Turkey, 1800s, nacre; 5 x 1 inches (12.7 x 2.5 cm), 4.9 x 1 inches (12.5 x 2.5 cm), 5.7 x 0.9 inches (14.6 x 2.2 cm).

Slide 26: 

Penknives, turkey, 1700s and 1800s, steel blades, brass mounts, handle materials include ivory and agate; lengths range from 9.5 to 7.2 inches (24.1 to 18.4 cm).

Slide 27: 

Penknives, Turkey, 1700s and 1800s, steel blades with brass and silver mounts; handle materials include steel, gold, bone, horn, ivory, ebony, and coral; lengths range from 8.5 to 3.1 inches (21.6 to 7.9 cm).

Slide 28: 

Penknife, Turkey, 1700s or 1800s, steel blade with coral handle, 7.2 x 2 inches (18.4 x 5.1 cm), 1700s.

Slide 29: 

Penknife, Turkey, 1700s or 1800s, steel blade with silver and ivory handle, 8 x 0.5 inches (20.3 x 1.3 cm).

Slide 30: 

Last two folios of a Qur’an, Turkey, copied by Yahya Hilmi and illuminated by Nur al-Din, dated in 1886-87 (1303 H). Ink, gold, and opaque pigment on paper, 8.2 x 5.1 inches (20.8 x 13 cm) (folio). Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, gift of Philip Hofer, 1984.451.

Slide 31: 

Domed inkwell, Turkey, 1800s, nacre with brass mounts, height 2.1 inches (5.4 cm).

Slide 32: 

Paper burnishers: jade burnisher set into a wooden handle, Turkey, 1600s-1700s, 3.3 x 10.7 inches (8.3 x 27.3 cm); glass egg-shaped burnisher, Turkey, 1700s-1800s, 4.8 x 3 inches (12.1 x 7.6 cm).

Slide 33: 

Paper scissors, Iran and Turkey, 1800s, steel overlaid with gold; steel chiseled and pierced, lengths range from 11.6 to 5.4 inches (29.5 to 13.7 cm).

Slide 34: 

Sand shakers, Turkey and Europe?, 1700s-1800s, fritware with overglaze and underglaze painting, with gilding; heights, from right to left: 2.4, 2.2, 2 inches (6, 5.7, 5.1 cm).

Slide 35: 

Gold burnishers, Turkey, 1800s, tips of agate or jade; silver stems connecting tips to handles made of ivory or ebony; lengths range from 8.1 to 5.4 inches (20.6 to 13.7 cm). Turban-style finials on three handles.

Slide 36: 

Gold burnishers, Turkey, 1800s, tips of agate or tiger’s-eye; silver or base metal sleeves connecting tips to handles made of fruit wood, ebony, and ivory; lengths range from 7.6 to 4.8 inches (19.4 to 12.1 cm).

Slide 37: 

Lower cover or a bookbinding in red, green, and gold, showing doublure with flap folded inward, Turkey, late 1800s, leather over pasteboard; exterior covers of red leather, gold tooled and painted in gold and green; interior covers of bright green leather with gold tooling, 8.3 x 5 inches (21 x 12.7 cm) (doublure). Slipcase with folding flap and woven strap. Textblock is the Qur’an shown in fig. 14, dated 1886-87. Harvard university Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, gift of Philip Hofer, 1984.451.

Slide 38: 

Pen box, Turkey, 1800s, wood inlaid with silver, bone, and colored woods, 3. X 3.7 x 8.6 inches (7.5 x 9.4 x 21.9 cm) (rear); pen box with sharpening strap, bearing the inscription “ May you have God’s assistance” (‘awn Allah ‘alayka), Turkey, late 1700s, wood with tortoiseshell, gold leaf, and bone inlay, leather, interior lined with red velvet, 2 x 7.7 x 1.9 inches (5.2 x 19.5 x 4.8 cm) (front).

Slide 39: 

Calligrapher’s storage box bearing the Qur’anic (96:4) inscription “Who taught by the pen” (alladhi ‘allama bi’l-qalami), turkey, 1700s, wood inlaid with tortoisehell (over gold leaf), ivory, brass, mother-of-pearl, and bone, 5.7 x 13.9 x 8 inches (14.4 x 35.2 x 20.2 cm).

Slide 40: 

Calligrapher’s table with a drawer for storage, Turkey, late 1600s-1700s, wood inlaid with bone, ebony, stained woods, and metal, 14.6 x 27.1 x 14.6 inches (37.1 x 68.9 x 37.1 cm)

Slide 41: 

Pen box, turkey, late 1700s, wood inlaid with tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, bone, and colored wood, 2.9 x 12.2 x 2.8 inches (7.3 x 31.1 x 7 cm).

Slide 42: 

Pen box bearing the inscription “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful” (bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim), Turkey, 1700s, wood with tortoisehll and mother-of-pearl inlay, interior lined with leather, 4.5 x 14 x 4.1 inches (11.4 x 35.6 x 10.5 cm). Detail of pen box showing the inscription on the lid.

Slide 43: 

Pen box with hinged inkwell, inscribed with a prayer in the form of the tuğra and the phrase “He [God] is” (huwa), Turkey, c. 1850, steel overlaid with silver and gold, 9.6 x 2.2 x 3.8 inches (24.5 x 5.5 x 9.6 cm). The prayer written in the form of the tuğra, the imperial Ottoman monogram, is identical to a calligraphy signed by Şeyh Ömer al-Vasif Sivasi. Detail of pen box showing the prayer in the form of a tuğra.

Slide 44: 

Pen case, Turkey, 1700s-1800s, metal lining covered in papier-mâché and varnish, 13.6 x 1.7 inches (34.5 x 4.3 cm).

Slide 45: 

Pen case with inkwell, stamped with tuğra, signed by Mehmed, Turkey, c. 1839061, silver, 2.4 x 14 x 3 inches (6.1 x 33 x 7.6 cm).

Slide 46: 

Calligraphy exercises (T. müfredat) in naskh and thuluth scripts, signed by Seyyid ‘Abdallah, Turkey, 18th century, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 6.9 x 10.5 inches (17.5 x 26.7 cm). Al-Seyyid ‘Abdallah’s exercise comprises eight folios set into tinted or marbled paper borders. Rulings were inscribed over the seams of the sheets of calligraphy and the borders, the outer edges of the folios finished in strips of red morocco leather. With the exception of the first and second pages, each subsequent page is divided into three registers, the top and bottom lines holding writing in thuluth script, the central line holding writing in naskh script, which is written at a smaller scale. Al-Seyyid ‘Abdallah was a pupil of the master calligrapher Hafiz Osman (1642-1689).

Slide 47: 

Detail of previous calligraphy exercises (T. müfredat) in naskh and thuluth scripts, signed by Seyyid ‘Abdallah, Turkey, 18th century, ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 6.9 x 10.5 inches (17.5 x 26.7 cm). Al-Seyyid ‘Abdallah’s exercise comprises eight folios set into tinted or marbled paper borders. Rulings were inscribed over the seams of the sheets of calligraphy and the borders, the outer edges of the folios finished in strips of red morocco leather. With the exception of the first and second pages, each subsequent page is divided into three registers, the top and bottom lines holding writing in thuluth script, the central line holding writing in naskh script, which is written at a smaller scale. Al-Seyyid ‘Abdallah was a pupil of the master calligrapher Hafiz Osman (1642-1689). Shows exercises in joining letters fa’, kaf, and mim

Slide 48: 

Certificate (T. icazet) to practice calligraphy, written and illuminated by Rustem Ghalib Efendi and approved by Hafez and Hafez Mehmed, Turkey, dated 1823-24 (1239 h), ink, opaque pigment and gold on paper, 7.5 x 11.7 inches (19.1 x 29.8 cm) (sheet).

Slide 49: 

Album of calligraphy (T. mürekkebat) in naskh and thuluth scripts, signed by al-Hac al-‘Arif, Turkey, 1896-97 (1314 H), ink, opaque pigment, and gold on paper, 9.1 x 12.8 inches (23.18 x 32.39 cm). The Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of Turkish Art at the Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 1995.829.

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