On Friday the Morgan Library & Museum opened "Treasures of Islamic Manuscript painting", an exhibition of more than 90 manuscripts, illuminated paintings and handwritten Qur'ans from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, taken from its broad holdings.
The exhibition includes a rare illustrated translation of the life of the Persian poet Rumi and a 13th-century treatise, Ibn Bakhtishu's âManafi-ihayavanâ ("Uses of Animals"), that is considered by scholars to be among the greatest of all Islamic illuminated manuscripts. Pictured above is "Two Mountain Rams Fighting" from the treatise on animals. Details like the bridge and gold clouds reflect Chinese artistic styles introduced by the Mongol invasion.
The show also prominently features what the Morgan describes as "a gigantic luxury" Qur'ran, made in Shiraz, Iran, about 1580 and originally presented by Sultan Ahmed III in the early 1700s to the mosque of Jerrah Pasha in Istanbul.
Indeed, the importance of the Qur'an, is being emphasised at the start of the show by presenting the first ever versions of the sacred book produced in vellum paper, until the most recent examples produced in journal paper.
In addition, the museum is showing six manuscripts taken from Khamsa of Nizami, including a description of the famous and emblematic couple Laila and Majnun - The Middle East's Romeo and Juliette. Nizami writings, which have been fundamental to Islamic culture, belong to a fine selection chosen by the museum.
The exhibit will run until 29 january 2012.
Randy Kennedy, "Art" The New York Times October 21, 2011
" 'Treasures of Islamic Manuscript' at Morgan New York" Art Media Agency October 21, 2011
"Exhibit: A Window Into Islamic Art ." The Wall Street Journal October 21, 2011
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today