Featured Topic: Islam

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The Birth of Islam
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A brief introduction to the rise and spread of Islam and the formation of an Islamic artistic language. With images of 5 related artworks.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/isla/hd_isla.htm
 
Arts of the Islamic World: A Teacher's Guide (.pdf)
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
"While the arts of the Islamic world span a vast geographic area and a wide range of media, the following materials highlight three especially important categories of artistic expression: the art of the book, the artof the mosque, and the artof the portable object. Featured here are objects from the museum’s historic collection; therefore, the guide explores the history of Islam and not its contemporary manifestations. However, four interviews with practicing Muslims and an excerpt from a journal kept by a young woman during Ramadan have been included to lend a contemporary voice to this guide." With an excellent overview of Islam and five lesson plans.

Go to Museum Resource: https://www.asia.si.edu/explore/teacherResources/islam.pdf
 
Five Faiths Project
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Combines original works of art, photographs, storytelling and community events to introduce information about the world religions of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. For art-related teaching, see the subtopic Art On-line for links to five works of art from each of the five religious traditions.

Go to Museum Resource: http://ackland.org/five-faiths-project/
 
The Adventures of Hamza
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
"The Hamzanama (story of Hamza) is a popular collection of action-filled stories that recount in straightforward language the colorful adventures of Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, and other legendary heroes as they travel the world spreading the teachings of Islam. ... The selection of illustrations and stories presented here is intended to introduce you to some of the key heroes and villains of the Hamzanama." Illustrations from Mughal dynasty royal manuscripts.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/hamza/default.htm
 
Sacred Texts: Chinese Qur'an
The British Library
This Chinese Qur'an from the 17th century "shows how Islamic styles of calligraphy and illumination were combined with local styles, symbols, and aesthetics that came from a very different culture." Featuring excellent high-resolution images of one leaf from this manuscript, along with background information about the Qur'an and Islam in China.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/chinesequran.html
 
Islamic Art of the Deccan
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
"The "Deccan" (derived from Dakshina) is a geographical term that refers to the plateau in south central India still ruled by Hindu kings when the first Muslim sultanates of India were established in Delhi." This essay discusses the cultural and political developments in the Deccan region during the rule of the Bahmanids (1347-1528). With 11 images of related artwork and architecture.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/decc/hd_decc.htm
 
The Arts of Kashmir
Asia Society
"The Arts of Kashmir comprises works of Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic art, including sculpture, painting, and calligraphy loaned from collections in the U.S., Europe, and India. Many of the objects have never been seen outside of India; in some cases they have never been exhibited or published anywhere. To provide a sense of the broad artistic contributions of this famously lush and beautiful region, the exhibition includes examples of stone and bronze sculptures and manuscript paintings, in addition to the fine examples of papier-mâché, carpets, shawls, and embroidery for which Kashmir is renowned."

Go to Museum Resource: http://sites.asiasociety.org/arts/kashmir/
 
Islamic Art and Geometric Design: Activities for Learning
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
An illustrated 46-page teacher's guide and activities book that can be downloaded in .pdf format. With an introduction to geometric design in Islamic art, a list of selected works from the Metropolitan Museum (with images and descriptions), a set of pattern-making activities, plus resources and a glossary.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.metmuseum.org/learn/for-educators/publications-for-educators/islamic...
 
Islamic Calligraphy in Practice and Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur'an
Asia Society
"This exhibition Islamic Calligraphy in Practice and its companion exhibition, Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur’an, explore Islamic art’s quintessential art form: calligraphy. In the Islamic world, the practice of calligraphy constitutes an expression of piety. The writing of Arabic script was considered an exemplary activity for men and women of all stations due to its association with the Qur’an. ... The varied works of calligraphy on display—from practice alphabets to elaborately finished manuscripts—serve as traces of individuals, belief systems, and cultures. The costly and exotic materials lavished on writing instruments also document the international trade of the period, from 1600 to 1900, and create a rich material legacy that fuses aesthetics and piety." Topics include: 1) Tools and Materials; 2) Training and Practice; 3) Contexts for Calligraphy; 4) Writing the Word of God.

Go to Museum Resource: http://sites.asiasociety.org/islamiccalligraphy/
 
The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256-1353
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Online archive of a 2003 exhibition that examined "the important artistic and cultural achievements that occurred in the Iranian world in the aftermath of the Mongol invasions. It was a period of brilliant cultural flowering as the Mongol masters sought to govern their disparate empire, and in the process they sponsored the creation of a remarkable new visual language." Five topics, all with excellent images and text: 1) The Mongols in China; 2) The Mongols in Iran; 3) The Mongols and Islam; 4) The Art of the Book; 5) A New Visual Language.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.lacma.org/khan/index.htm
 
Miniatures from the Topkapi Palace Museum
The Topkapi Palace Museum
Select "Miniatures from the Topkapi Museum" from the menu at left to see a large selection of examples from the museum's collection of miniature paintings, including early Islamic illustrations, Mongols and painting under the Jala'ir, chinoiserie and painting under the Timurids, and book illustration under the Ottoman empire.

Go to Museum Resource: http://www.ee.bilkent.edu.tr/~history/topkapi.html
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