The movement of Qur’ans is explored in an exhibition at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC, which features rare loans from Istanbul’s Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. For the US museum’s chief curator and curator of Islamic art, MassumehFarhad, who is co-curating the show with Simon Rettig, it is thrilling to trace the manuscripts’ journeys through time and space.
Examples of Qur’an boxes, from rare early survivals made of wood, cardboard and leather to 16th- and 17th-century building-shaped wood boxes inlaid with ivory, are also on display.
Farhad and Rettig hope these Qur’ans are seen as works of art. “There is incredible variety and artistic genius in making every copy unique. Qur’ans have been in the news a lot recently [in] a negative light,” she says. “As an art museum, we want to present them in a different light.”