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Collecting Calligraphy: Arts of the Islamic World


  • Cincinnati Art Museum 953 Eden Park Dr Cincinnati OH 45202 (map)

Collecting Calligraphy: Arts of the Islamic World 

September 7, 2018–January 27, 2019

Exploring Cross Cultural Expressions

Collecting Calligraphy: Arts of the Islamic World

January 20th, Noon-2:30pm

Women Writing for (a) Change partners with the Cincinnati Art Museum for the third program in this ten-part series. Inspired by the exhibit, participants will be led in the creative process of considering the cultural contexts of the folios, then finding their own words to respond. Writing prompts will guide participants in their own journey to discover, question and understand more about the traditions and the lives of the people behind the exhibit. Facilitated by Katherine Meyer. Register here.

Press Release

The Cincinnati Art Museum has been collecting Islamic calligraphy since the 1940s. These sumptuous works, with precisely articulated scripts that grace the page, explore the prominence and pervasiveness of calligraphy in the arts of the Islamic world.

Richly illuminated folios from poetic and historic manuscripts will be displayed alongside pages from the Qur’an, calligraphic practice sheets, and political decrees in Collecting Calligraphy: Arts of the Islamic World. Through the display of individual folios and complete manuscripts that date from the ninth through the twentieth century, the exhibition emphasizes the craftsmanship and skill evident in each work’s creation. One can appreciate the symbiotic balance between paper size, script, ornamentation, and illumination in works that originate from a myriad of countries; including Iran, Turkey, India, Spain, and Syria. Discovering Islamic calligraphy through this collection reveals how the art of the book functioned as a vehicle to convey knowledge, disseminate the word of God, and legitimize empire. 

Collecting Calligraphy celebrates a recent gift from JoLynn and Byron Gustin, Cincinnati residents and active museum patrons. This significant gift adds to our strengths in the calligraphic arts, an artform long prized by Islamic cultures and which has flourished from the seventh century through the present.

The temporary exhibition will be on view in The Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Gallery and Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Gallery (G124 and 125), across from the museum’s Terrace Café. Free admission. Photography is permitted.

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