The Art of the Qur’an

Educator Resource Page

How can you bring The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts into your classroom? Educators of many disciplines and grade levels can use this exhibition as a teaching and learning opportunity. Utilize the resources below to deepen your understanding of the role of Islam and the Qur’an in history and art.

Background Reading and Context

Islam and Religious Art | Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Read about the key tenets of Islam, important historical figures and events, and the role of art in the religion’s history and practice.
Islamic Art and Culture | National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Consult this in-depth teaching resource to learn about the history of Islam and the variety of objects created by artists of the Islamic world.
Traces of the Calligrapher | Asia Society, New York City
Learn about Islamic calligraphers’ tools, training, and techniques.
Art Spots | Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys
Explore these visual essays on different aspects of Islamic art—from calligraphy to architecture.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Art of the Islamic World | Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Find answers to common questions that arise when teaching about Islam and Islamic culture.

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Classroom Activities

How to Look at a Qur’an: Educator Resource (PDF, 6MB)

Lesson Plan: Mosque Lamps (PDF, 77KB)
Grade levels: fourth grade and up
In this activity, students will incorporate patterns and calligraphy to create structures resembling mosque lamps. Students also will learn about the Islamic world’s significant role in the development of trade and its resulting wealth.

Explore and Discover
Lapis and Gold
Completed in September 1517, this manuscript is a triumph of illumination and calligraphy that showcases the skill of artists at the Ottoman court. Explore the manuscript by flipping through the pages and clicking on hotspots to learn more. These folios contain the last fourteen chapters of the Qur’an.

Wondrous Words  
An extraordinary feat of calligraphy, this Qur’an represents a seldom-seen level of artistic perfection as two of the period’s best-known artists, Ahmad al-Suhrawardi and Muhammad ibn Aybak, transcribed and illuminated the manuscript. Explore the manuscript by flipping through the pages and clicking on hotspots to learn more. These folios contain verses 25 to 52 of sura 21, al-Anbiya’ (The Prophets), contained within juz 17.

Activities for Kids and Families

Manuscripts on the Move
Decades or even centuries after copies of the Qur’an were created in cities such as Herat, Baghdad, and Cairo, Ottoman sultans, queens, and viziers acquired some of the most precious ones. These volumes were treasured in private libraries and given as gifts and rewards. Most frequently, they were donated to religious institutions to be read, recited and studied. Inscriptions, notes, and repairs provide snapshots of the manuscripts’ histories—including their long-distance travels before the early twentieth century, when they finally settled in Istanbul’s Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. Use this interactive feature to trace their journeys.

Plan Your School Visit
To bring your students to experience The Art of the Qur’an in person, submit this request form (selecting the Arts of the Islamic World tour) four weeks in advance.

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Background Reading and Context
Frequently Asked Questions
Classroom Activities




The World Illuminated: Form and Function of Qur’anic Manuscripts
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