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Exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum includes richly-illuminated folios from historic manuscripts
Folio Describing the Prophet Muhammad’s Epithets; Page from a dispersed Mathnawi (‘spiritual couplets’) of Mir Hasan, late 18th century, India (probably Hyderabad), ink, colors, and gold on paper, Cincinnati Art Museum; Gift of JoLynn M. and Byron W. Gustin, 2016.421a-b.


CINCINNATI, OH.- Explore the craftsmanship, skill, beauty and function of calligraphy from the ninth to the twentieth centuries in the special exhibition Collecting Calligraphy: Arts of the Islamic World, on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum September 7, 2018–January 27, 2019.

The exhibition features 55 works on paper including richly-illuminated folios from historic manuscripts, pages from the Qur’an, calligraphic practice sheets and political decrees from a myriad of countries, including Spain, Turkey, Syria, Iran and India. This diverse collection of artworks from the museum’s collection have never before been seen together. Many of these items are on public display for the first time.

The Cincinnati Art Museum has been acquiring Islamic calligraphy since the 1940s and houses one of the most significant collections in the Midwest. Collecting Calligraphy celebrates a recent gift to the museum from JoLynn and Byron Gustin. The Gustins, Cincinnati residents and active museum patrons, have been collecting Islamic calligraphy since the 1970s. The exhibition also includes works from the permanent collection, including a 1977 acquisition from Edwin Binney 3rd (1925–1986), the progenitor of one of the most important encyclopedic collections of South Asian and Persian painting in the US, now housed at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities Ainsley M. Cameron organized the exhibition. “These sumptuous works of Islamic calligraphy reveal incredible skill and craftsmanship, offering a glimpse into cultures where the art of the book is revered,” says Cameron. “From the precise position of each line of text to the delicately drawn illumination, each detail works together on the page to create a unified composition.”

Collecting Calligraphy is 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, September 7, 2018–January 27, 2019. Admission is free and photography is permitted. A free catalogue is available to visitors in the exhibition galleries.





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