Sharing Appreciation of Islamic Art

A table at the Discover Islam Week, Parkinson Court,
University of Leeds

By Antonia Lovelace and Gabrielle Hamilton

It was great to be invited to participate in the University of  Leeds’ Islamic Society’s Discover Islam week again this year. We took seven items, including the Khanga cloth from Tanzania that we hung at the front of our table. Our most prized Islamic item, a fragment of the Kaaba cloth from 1917 took pride of place and we also exhibited a Turkish waistcoat, c. 1900 with stylised Arabic calligraphy in a very fine chain stitch and a Turkish necklace with brass coins. Two items prompted the most enthusiastic conversations, a Takhti, or writing board from Pakistan with an ink packet (entitled Churaj Roshani – or bringer of light), clay and pen (kolam), bought in Pakistan in 1975 by a previous curator, which Irfan Raja and others commented on, who had learnt their first letters using such a board, 

and the seal and manuscripts from Nepal belonging to Maharaj Rana Singh Bahadoor. Several people have asked for the longer Persian text to be sent to them by e-mail, so hopefully we may get a translation of key elements of this quite soon.

Two readers were able to give us the date on the longest manuscript – 13 July 1879.

Thank you to Zaki Al-Ghazal for inviting us to the event, which continues for the rest of the week (though we could only be there for today), and a big thank you to Ismail Hussayn, the Arabic calligrapher, who kindly wrote
VOICES OF ASIA, the title of the redisplay we are planning for Leeds City Museum World View gallery, for us:

You can find Ismail at twitter@IsmailHussayn

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