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IOS Minaret Vol-1, No.1 (March 2007)
Vol. 11    Issue 18   01 - 15 February 2017

A silk Quran: This Azerbaijani artist spent 3 years hand-painting the holy text on rich black silk pages

The one-of-its-kind Quran is displayed at the Smithsonian Museum’s Sackler Gallery in the US, as a part of an exhibition called The Art of the Quran: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.

In recognition of one of the world’s extraordinary collections of Quran, the Sackler and Freer is hosting a historic exhibition, the first of its kind in the United States. With the apparent rise in incidents of hate crimes due to Islamophobia, the exhibition seems more pertinent.

The Smithsonian Museum’s Sackler Gallery is already host to various unique editions of the Quran from around the world. In fact, The Art of the Quran: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts has more than 60 manuscripts of the Holy text on display.

Of them is one unique edition made by an Azerbaijani painter, which took over three years to make. Painter and decorative artist Tunzale Memmedzade of Turkey invested many years transcribing the holy text on translucent fine silk cloth-pages in gold and silver paints.

“Memmedzade, a 33-year-old artist, used 50 meters of transparent black silk, and 1,500 milliliters of gold and silver inks in the project, which has taken three years to complete,” reported Turkish news website Daily Sabah.

In the quest to make an exceptional Quran, Memmedzade researched extensively. After a thorough investigation, she found out that the Islamic Holy Book had been “transcribed onto various materials but never onto silk before”, which motivated her to take up the mammoth project. Having studied art history at Turkey’s Marmara University, she also explained that the work of art does not infringe on any religious law since silk is a material that has been referred to in the holy book.

To finish the beautiful book, she used 164ft of the rich cloth, each page measuring 29cm x 33cm. She transcribed the text based on the version released from the Diyanet, the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs.

The ongoing exhibition aims to celebrate the works of these books for their superb calligraphy and lavish illumination, said a statement from the museum. “The manuscripts — which range in date from the early eighth to the seventeenth century — are critical to the history of the arts of the book,” the website says.

In Islamic countries, the art of writing and decorating the Holy Text is still a common practice — which shows their devotion and patience. The exhibition aims to highlight such intricate works, Memmedzade’s version of the Quran only reaffirms the claim.

The ongoing exhibition which began on October 22 is on till February 20, 2017.

(Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/azerbaijani-artist-spends-three-years-hand-painting-text-of-quran-on-rich-black-silk-pages-4422910/)

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