Exhibitions: "Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Arts of the Book and Calligraphy" at the Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul - Aga Khan Museum
Aga Khan Development Network

“Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Arts of the Book and Calligraphy”
at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Istanbul

The ninth exhibition of artworks from the AKM collection was opened at the Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul on November 9 2010 and will close on Feb 27 2011.

Los Mundos del Islam en las colecciones del Aga Khan MuseumUnlike earlier exhibitions, it focuses on a specific part of the collection, namely arts of the book and calligraphy. Close to 130 pieces are on show.  It showcases important works on paper and parchment from all parts of the Muslim world, from Andalusia to China, including gold and turquoise illuminated manuscripts from the tenth through the nineteenth centuries. The manuscripts are complemented by a wide range of rare objects in textile, stone, wood, ceramics and metalwork from the same period, many of them with calligraphic inscriptions or decoration reminiscent of illumination.

The exhibition was designed by the celebrated Czech architect Boris Micka, director of GPD in Sevilla.  Mr. Micka received the Gold Award at the Shanghai 2010 exhibition.

Many items from the collection that have never been shown before are exhibited, including a magnificent Ottoman box made from ivory, gold, turquoise and rubies by Safavid Iranian craftsmen in Istanbul for Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

The catalogue is the largest produced so far for an AKM exhibition. Edited by Dr. Margaret Graves and Benoît Junod (Aga Khan Trust for Culture), it contains 375 pages of spectacular new images and details of the items on show, as well as a series of articles by Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Oleg Grabar (his last published piece), Francis Richard (Louvre), Michael Barry (Princeton), Eloise Brac de la Perrière (CNRS, Paris), Annabel Gallop (British Library), and many others, both in the fields covered by the exhibition and on specific works in the collection. With a special glossary of terms of arts of the book, a section on calligraphic styles with illustrations by Mustafa Ja’far, a complete glossary, bibliography and index of names, it will remain as a reference work on the subject.

The exhibition features miniature paintings from the celebrated Shahnama of Shah Tamasp; the earliest known manuscript of Ibn Sina’s Canon of Medicine, which became the medical reference book in Europe for several centuries; and a manuscript of the 101 Nights, recently brought to light, which pre-dates all other known versions by 500 years. Rare pages and illuminated volumes of the Qur’an will be shown, including a page from the “Blue Qur’an”, which is celebrated for its gold text on aquamarine-dyed parchment.

The objects on display include an eleventh century silk robe with facing birds from Central Asia; a gold, turquoise and ivory box produced by Persian goldsmiths working for the Ottoman court at the beginning of the sixteenth century; a portrait of the poet Hatifi painted by Bizhad; and a portrait of the Ottoman Sultan Selim II attributed to Haidar Reis Nigari (1494–1572).

For more information, please see the press release and photos.

Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum
Format: PDF
Language: English
Size: 14MB
376 pages