Sharjah museum showcases rare Quran manuscripts, Islamic calligraphy

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The Sharjah Museums Authority is showcasing a number of rare Quran manuscripts and Islamic calligraphy from the Hamid Jafar Quran Collection at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.

Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, opened on Monday the “Sacred Words, Timeless Calligraphy: Highlights of Exceptional Calligraphy from the Hamid Jafar Qur’an Collection” exhibition organized by Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), which features a number of exquisite manuscripts that are being displayed for the first time ever.

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Present at the opening were Sheikh Khaled bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Ports, Customs and Free Zones Authority, Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor to the UAE President, Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, Hamid Jafar, Founder and Chairman of Sharjah-based Crescent Group of Companies, and Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority.

The exhibition features a selection of more than 50 rare examples of Quran manuscripts. (Supplied)
The exhibition features a selection of more than 50 rare examples of Quran manuscripts. (Supplied)

The exhibition will be open till March 19 next year at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, and is part of SMA’s efforts aimed at raising more awareness about the history of Arabic calligraphy and its role in enriching the art scene.

“We are delighted to organize this exhibition which reflects the great dedication of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi to making Islamic collections accessible and ensuring they represent the diversity found in Islamic heritage,” said Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority.

“Calligraphy is one of the most fundamental elements of Islamic art that has influenced numerous cultures across the globe and with this exhibition we hope to introduce our visitors to rare Islamic manuscripts and to the origins, methods, and schools of calligraphy that were part of their production,” added Ataya.

The featured items illustrate craftwork and beauty in design, demonstrating successive breakthroughs while reflecting the aesthetics of the location and epoch in which they were produced.
The featured items illustrate craftwork and beauty in design, demonstrating successive breakthroughs while reflecting the aesthetics of the location and epoch in which they were produced.



The exhibition features a selection of more than 50 rare examples of Quran manuscripts including a painting and a rug spanning 14 centuries of Islamic civilization from the Near East to China, South East Asia, to Spain, and the Maghrib and depicting its influence as a unifying force and source of inspiration for different cultures.

Hamid Jafar, Founder and Chairman of Sharjah-based Crescent Group of Companies, began collecting the masterpieces from an early age adding to a small collection inherited from his late father, and continuing to build it over 40 years.

“I am proud and honored to be exhibiting this selection from my collection for the first time ever, doing so in my beloved Sharjah which I have taken as my home for over half a century, and to be sharing with the wider community the beauty of these remarkable works,” Jafar said.

Exhibits include a masterpiece by female scribe Sharifah Wahidah Yaqutah, dated 1844 AD, and a 1.7m high-page of the Baysunqur Quran that dates back to 1400 AD, and a folio from one of the oldest and largest surviving Quran manuscripts from the “Tashkent Quran” which dates back to the 2nd century AH/ 8th century AD.

Other objects that depict the history of calligraphy and reveal new aspects of the visual art of calligraphy include pages from a number of monumental Quran manuscripts that date back to the era between 2nd AH / 8th CE centuries and 4th AH / 10th CE centuries.

The featured items illustrate craftwork and beauty in design, demonstrating successive breakthroughs while reflecting the aesthetics of the location and epoch in which they were produced.

Exhibiting this important collection of rare Quranic manuscripts and calligraphy, was made possible by generous support from the Crescent Group, founded by Jafar, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Accompanying the exhibition, SMA will be rolling out a number of educational activities that further promote the role of museums as learning spaces.

These will include an array of walk-in family workshops that will continue throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Read more: Renowned Iraqi Kurdish artist Ismail Khayat's exhibition open at Sharjah Art Museum

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