baghdad. Iraq’s National Museum is expected to reopen in March, for the first time since Saddam Hussein’s rule. Although the Assyrian and Islamic displays were reinstalled in two main rooms in 2008, they have only been accessible to VIPs and invited groups. “It will be the answer to my dreams when we can finally reopen to the public,” said Amira Edan, the museum’s director.
The Baghdad museum was closed in late 2002, a few months before the coalition’s invasion. It had also been shut from the 1991 Gulf War to April 2000. This means that the museum has been open for not much more than two of the past 20 years, virtually barring it from an entire generation of Iraqis.
A rarely-seen manuscript of one of the world’s most important copies of the Koran is to be published online.
The hand-written holy book, estimated to be around 500 years old, is so precious and fragile scholars have been unable to put it on display.
Now experts at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library are using digital technology to photograph each page and publish the book online to enable scholars and students to study it.
Analysis of the digital images should aid scholars to date the manuscript more accurately.
‘Hurouf: The Art of the Word’ traces the developments of the Arabic script from its inception, with kufic leaves dating from the 8th century, through popular calligraphy of the 19th century to the highest calibre works by international calligraphers working today. In selecting some of the most talented, revered and innovative calligraphers working with the Arabic script from, among others, Japan, the United States, Turkey, the Middle East, China and the Indian Sub- Continent, the auction aims to represent the developments of an art form that has entered its second millennium. The sale features monumental pieces on canvas, in bronze and neon too, by – among others – leading artists such as Farhad Moshiri, Ahmed Moustafa, Parviz Tanavoli, Hassan Massoudy, Mohammed Ehsai, Ali Omar Ermes, Sadequain and Laila Shawa, and of particular relevance to Qatar are local artists Yousef Ahmad and Ali Hassan and resident artist MF Hussain.
Three Faiths includes 200 rare and precious works created over the past 1,500 years. Among them, great works of the miniaturist’s art and of calligraphy, drawn from all three faiths, delight the eye, as they have done since their creation centuries ago. Manuscript materials are accompanied by some of the most significant printed works of the past 550 years. The scrolls, codices, illuminated manuscripts, and printed volumes are complemented selectively by important bindings, early photographs, prints, maps, and liturgical or ritual objects dating from the fifth century of the Common Era (CE) to the present.
Traces of the Calligrapher: Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600–1900 presents elegant and masterful works of calligraphy alongside the finely rendered tools used to create them, such as inkwells, penknives, burnishers, and paper scissors. The accompanying exhibition Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur’an brings to light key developments in the Islamic scripts from Spain to North Africa and to Greater Iran through a selection of folios from Qur’ans dating from the seventh century to the fifteenth century. Together, these exhibitions reveal the significant role of calligraphy and calligraphers in the Islamic lands across several centuries and two continents.