The art of Quran exhibition is organized by Sackler and the museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. The exhibition will show at least 60 of the most important Quran art works in Afghanistan, Arab, turkey and Iran. Most of the manuscripts are almost 1,000 years old. It will be a first time for most of these art works to be viewed outside Turkey.
The manuscripts were prized possessions of Ottoman rulers. The Ottoman Empire extended from Southern Europe, Northern Africa up to the Middle East. The manuscripts were offered as gifts to cement political and military bonds. They were also given to religious institutions, libraries, and schools as a way to cement political power and also as a way to show commitment of the Ottoman Empire towards religious and social life. Before 1914, when Ottoman Empire faced political crisis, they collected all the donated works and kept them inside the museum of Turkish and Islamic arts.
The exhibition gives an opportunity to all people to see Qurans of different origin and styles and understand the stories and extraordinary people behind creation of Quran manuscripts. It also gives an opportunity for people to appreciate the beauty of these art works.
The museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts holds so many important art works that are not so known by art experts. The exhibition will therefore open the doors for many art lovers and experts to appreciate the Muslim artistes.
The exhibition will have catalogues, giving details of each art work on display. The freer and Sackler galleries of art contain most of the important Islamic art works. Freer and Sackler have been presenting exhibitions about famous religious publications all around.
A contemporary woman master of the pen: Hilal Kazan (interview by Valerie Behlery)
She’s a calligrapher. Kazan is a Ph.D. holder in Islamic art history. She is a professor in Istanbul University and a published author with most of her works exhibited in countries such as Turkey, U.S, U.K, South Africa and UAE.
She studied with Hasan Celebi, a renowned Turkish calligrapher and later on, he became her teacher when she got interested in calligraphy. She was attracted by calligraphy and wanted to help transmit its culture to the next generations. To her, she became a success in calligraphy since she loved doing it. Loving what you do gives one patience and tolerance, making the work more successful.
Kazan has practiced calligraphy for almost 20 years. Being a calligrapher has changed her life positively, making her to be more patient and also changing her view of life. Being a woman, most of her works revolve around Quran, prayer books and calligraphic panels. She designs most her works. Some of her most celebrated works include asma’ al-husna and asma’ al-nabi which are God’s most beautiful names and prophet’s most beautiful names. She believes that people who are not calligraphers can learn to appreciate calligraphic works by observing closely and frequently.
The symbolic potential of the transnational mosque
The contemporary mosques try to merge tradition with technology. These architectural designs show how culture can be defined through the act of building. In early days, the mosques were built as symbols of ruler’s power. However, they’ve now come to be seen as places of religion and also as representations of nationhood in the recent past. The design of most mosques in Middle East tries to show that Islam is central to both public and private lives of the citizens. After the Ottoman Empire fell in the beginning of 20th century and colonization came to an end in the second half of the century,Islamnations tried to modernize most of the buildings. Any grand mosques built at this time attracted much attention and was used as tourists destinations. These classical mosques inspired the transnational mosques.
Transnational mosques are mosques built by the support of nation governments and diverse transnational networks. These transnational mosques try to merge the architectural and religious identity and also provide historical foundations for heritage and preservation of Muslim traditions. During the 20th century, monumental mosques have continued to be built. Buildings also that help accommodate the changing social norms are also on the rise. These include modern mosques built inside schools and universities or government agencies. A parliament mosque in Ankara was designed in a way to look like the parliament complex building which is used by the civil servants. Mosques are also constructed to show the state of a nation.
Mosques are often used as venue for state celebrations. They are also used by men to exercise their political rights especially during Friday prayers where they are allowed to comment and discuss political situation. Transnational mosques have continued to portray mosques as places where political issues are discussed. The transnational mosques are used to give memories of the past and also serve the present political and community needs. Some mosques were also designed to show social and religious transformations brought about by Ottoman Empire.
Mosques are designed in a way that gives the history of Islam. Fundamentalists try to show history of Islam based on the truth from Quran which mosques sponsored by a state only try to show the history of the Islamic rule.At times, tension arises between local and national entities. Transnational mosques therefore, try to regulate political power and public belief; and also solve issues such as conflict between past and the present, and tradition and technology by merging tradition and technology to produce grand mosques that describes the state of nations and religion now and before.
Transnational mosques are built in a way that they last for a very long time, outliving even their designers. This means that they project a certain kind of a future. A transnational mosque designed looking forward and backwards at the same time describes how modernity is in the Middle East. Therefore they try to connect citizens and the state and show how the Islamic countries frame their identity.
Transnational mosques are changing social and political beliefs in the world. They also try to maintain and uphold the history of Islam all over the world and pacify any conflicting parties.
Rizvi, Kishwar. The symbolic potential of transnational mosques.3rd ed. Vol. 48. Chapel Hill: The U of Carolina, 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.
Behiery, Valerie. “A contemporary woman master of the pen.”Islamic arts magazine.N.P., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2017
“The art of Qur’an: treasures from the museum of Turkish and Islamic arts.” Islamic arts magazine 15 Oct. 2016: n. pag.Web. 24 Apr. 2017.