Introduction to Tezhip (Classic Islamic illumination) with Fatma Ulusoy Hoca

Started on 1 January 1970

Introduction to Tezhip (Classic Islamic illumination) with Fatma Ulusoy Hoca

Unveil the art of Tezhip - Illuminate your creativity with Deen Arts Foundation. Discover the techniques, gold, and beauty of Ottoman manuscript illumination. Enroll now for an enchanting journey.

General Info

  • Course Title: Introduction to Tezhip: Classic Islamic illumination) 
  • Course Schedule: 
  • Tuesdays: 8 PM UTCFall 2023: (September 5, 2023 – December 12, 2023[Break]Winter 2023: (January 9, 2024 – February 27, 2024) 
  • Instructor: Fatma Ulusoy Sirajuddin
  • Course Format: Online
  • Scholarship Application Form [click to access]

About the Course

Tezhip, derived from the Turkish word “ornamenting with gold,” is a cherished art form embodying the Ottoman tradition of adorning calligraphy.

As renowned Tezhip professor, Dr. Çiçek Derman eloquently expressed, “The Tezhip artist aims to illuminate the Holy Quran, expressing the depths of their heart through their art.” In our Introduction to Tezhip class, students will delve into the fundamental techniques and materials employed by the esteemed Tezhip artist Fatma Ulusoy. 

Learning Objectives

  • Develop a solid foundation in the techniques of Tezhip, including gold application and ornamentation.
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the materials and tools used in Tezhip art.
  • Cultivate a deep appreciation for the Ottoman tradition of calligraphy embellishment and the art of Tezhip.

Program Curriculum

  • Week 1: Zencerek and corner turn.
  • Week 2: Circular Zencerek
  • Week 3: Applying zencerek on the ahar paper
  • Week 4: Münhani motif painting
  • Week 5: Münhani pattern design
  • Week 6: Münhani pattern painting
  • Week 7: Completing the pattern, Tığ
  • Week 8: Drawing Halkar leaf
  • Week 9: Drawing Halkar, Hata-i, Penç, Goncagül
  • Week 10: Painting technique of Halkar
  • Week 11: Halkar pattern design
  • Week 12: Painting the pattern, tığ
  • Week 13: Bouquet design
  • Week 14: Bouquet painting
  • Week 15: Checking the bouquet
  • Week 16: Introduction Classical tezhip, Framing
  • Week 17: Classical tezhip design
  • Week 18: Checking the patterns, contour work
  • Week 19: Transfering the pattern, gilding
  • Week 20: Flower backgrounds and contour
  • Week 21: Flower colors, painting the Zemin (background)
  • Week 22: Tığ pattern
  • Week 23: Designing Classical + Halkar pattern

The motifs and skills will be introduced and practiced once; mastery will come later when one joins the Şah Kulu Tezhip Apprenticeship Program. Therefore, all Introduction to Tezhip class projects must be completed before permission to enter the Apprenticeship Program.

Classes will be conducted online using Zoom, and Whatsapp will be used for communication, sharing information, and homework.

Required Materials

Students can buy supplies from the Islamic Art Supplies (click to view) store.


(if you cannot find the recommended items)


Royal Talens Extra Fine Quality 16ml (bottle)

Any Good quality gouache paint 

(Winsor and Newton Gouache/ Arteza)

White +++100Any Good quality gouache paint 
Yellow Citroengeel ++205Any Good quality gouache paint 
Yellow Ochre 227Any Good quality gouache paint 
Carmine 318Any Good quality gouache paint 
Vermillion +311Any Good quality gouache paint 
Cobalt Blue (Ultramarine) +++512Any Good quality gouache paint 
              Neutral Black +++737Any Good quality gouache paint 
Green +++620
              Coliro Finetec palette/Gansai Tambi Palette

BRUSHES: 3 Winsor and Newton  Series 7 Size 000 

                      1 Winsor and Newton  Series 7 Size 0

Any company Size 000

Any company Size 0

RULER 12 IN (with cm also)
MECHANICAL PENCIL (0.3mm preferred)0.5mm
WATERCOLOR PAPER (Cold Pressed – 300 gsm/140lb) WATERCOLOR PAPER (Hot Pressed 300 gsm/140lb)


AGATE BURNISHER (saw tooth with slight point)
Mat, Matte, Mount or Illustration Boards 

2 DARK Colored and 2 LIGHT Colored

  • Approximately 30x30cm (Can be cut to these measurements)
  • Acid Free
  • Smooth 
-silk cloth (The corner of a silk scarf can be used without cutting it.  It will not damage the scarf.)

-glass bowl with lid

-ceramic or porcelain plate (small to medium size)

Şahkulu Tezhip Apprenticeship Program

Şah Kulu is the most well-known muzehhip (master tezhip artist) in Ottoman history, and we honor his contributions to the art by naming our apprenticeship program after him. As a practitioner during the reign of Sultan Süleyman, he benefited from generous royal patronage, which helped tezhip and many other arts reach their peak. As a result, he was a master of many skills and developed new styles and techniques in tezhip, ceramics, and bookbinding. For example, one of the decorative styles that characterized the court arts that he and his student Kara Memi developed is saz, an ancient Turkish word used to define an enchanted forest.

Apprenticeship is “the method or process of gaining knowledge of a trade, art, or profession from the instruction of a master.” In this case, Tezhip is the trade, art, profession, and devotional act, and the master is Fatma Hoca. Students who completed the Introduction class together will remain in their Group and be given a name in honor of one of the great masters. The students in each Group travel together on this path, supporting and learning from one another, creating community and camaraderie, and moving from semester to semester to master the skills according to their Hoca’s instruction. Apprenticeships will continue until “permission to teach” in the form of a certificate is given by the master to the apprentice.

Read more >

Due to limited seating, we request that you cancel by July 22, 2023, to receive a full refund.

Our Instructor

Fatma Ulusoy Hoca has been studying Tezhip with Tezhip master Ayşe Gülcan Özbalak since 2015. Her work has adorned the compositions of several master calligraphers, and she has participated in multiple tezhip exhibitions.


Manuscript Illumination / Tezhip

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