The first major exhibition of Qur’ans (Korans) in the U.S., “The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts” at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., will be on view through Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Opening-day programs for all ages will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. and include curator tours, family-friendly hands-on art activities, storytelling performances and live demonstrations of calligraphy and illumination. The full schedule is available in the events section of the museum’s website.
The landmark exhibition, organized by the Sackler and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art in collaboration with the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul, will feature more than 60 Qur’ans, among the most important ever produced from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, including works from the permanent collection of the Freer and Sackler galleries plus a number of long-term loans. Celebrated for their superb calligraphy and lavish illumination, the manuscripts span almost 1,000 years of history—from eighth-century Damascus, Syria, to 17th-century Istanbul.
This landmark exhibition tells the individual stories of some of these extraordinary manuscripts, their makers and their owners. Visitors will learn how the Qur’an was transformed from an orally transmitted message into a fixed text, transcribed and illuminated by some of the most skilled artists of the Islamic world and treasured and disseminated by sultans and viziers over centuries.
The Freer and Sackler galleries have one of the most celebrated collections of arts from the Islamic world in the U.S. They have presented other major exhibitions featuring important religious objects and publications, including “The Tibetan Shrine from the Alice S. Kandell Collection” in 2010 and “In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000” in 2006.