Qur'an manuscripts from Istanbul to be exhibited in US

The exhibition, the first of its kind in the US, is set to run from October 15 through Feb 20, 2017

Qur'an manuscripts from Istanbul to be exhibited in US

World Bulletin / News Desk

A collection of rare Qur'an manuscripts will be exhibited in the United States in late summer, Pakistani Dawn newspaper said.

The Smithsonian, a group of museums and research centers administered by the US Government, announced an exhibit titled “The Art of the Qur'an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts" will bring 48 manuscripts and folios from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul.

The exhibition, the first of its kind in the US, is set to run from October 15 through Feb 20, 2017.

These Qur'ans originally come from the Near East, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and Iraq. In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, the government transferred valuable artworks across the empire to Istanbul and they are now kept at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.

For example, one Qur'an, completed in 1307 for the tomb of Mongol leader Uljaytu in Soltaniyeh, Iran, was taken to Istanbul by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1531 and given to his relatives.

“This book has had more incredible moments than I've had in my life," said Simon Rettig, assistant curator of Islamic art at Boston College and Virginia Commonwealth University.

“These Qur'ans span nearly a millennium, dating from the late 7th or early 8th centuries (not long after the time of Prophet Muhammad PBUH) to the 17th century," Rettig said.

With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, nine research centers, and affiliates around the globe.

Islam and the Qur'an may come up during debates and discussions, but Massumeh Farhad, chief curator at the Sackler and Freer and curator of Islamic art, says this exhibition is a chance to present a different story.

She calls it an opportunity to “focus on the importance of this as a work of art and importance in art history."

The Arabic text of the Qur'an was fixed as early as the late 7th century, Farhad said, but the variety in Qur'ans is 'staggering'.

The exhibition will showcase different styles of calligraphy and illumination.

Visitors will be able to compare different Qur'ans and “see the sweep of history in front of us," said Sheila Blair, an art history professor who specializes in Islamic art at Boston College and Virginia Commonwealth University.

"It shows how diverse the Muslim world is."

The show is an opportunity for people to see these Qur'ans up close in the US and “reflect on their own assumptions," said Julian Raby, director of the Sackler and Freer. He calls it a “fitting complement" to a 2006 exhibition of Bibles dating back before the year 1000.
Last Mod: 21 Haziran 2016, 15:28
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