Online: Exploring Islamic Illumination

Started on 10 February 2024 6 Weeks

Online: Exploring Islamic Illumination

The Exploring Islamic Illumination course is six weeks long. It introduces the student to an awareness of the world of Islamic manuscript illumination, also known as Tezhip, and the discipline required to learn this beautiful art form.

Registrations are closed, thank you very much for your interest.


Exploring Islamic Illumination

General Info

  • Subject: Arabic Calligraphy
  • Course Format: Online
  • Dates: Feb 10 – March 16 2024
  • Duration: 6 Weeks
  • Time: 07:00 – 09:00 PM UTC
  • Instructor: Farzana Razzaque Hoca
  • Scholarship Application Form [click to access]

About The Course

Tezhip is the Turkish word meaning “ornamenting with gold” and represents the Ottoman tradition of beautifying calligraphy. Renowned professor of Tezhip, Dr. Çiçek Derman, once said, “If the aim of the Hattat (calligrapher) is to write the Holy Qur’an in his best handwriting, the Tezhip artist aims to illuminate it to express what is in their heart.”

This course will take an intellectual and hands-on look at how the art of Tezhip is taught formally. The most important aspect of this class is understanding the various techniques used to create a pattern and the fine craftsmanship required to create an art piece with Tezhip. First, students will experience a brief history of Tezhip and look at the different styles used by Tezhip artists.

Next, students will explore elements of Tezhip by looking at the building blocks used to make a simple pattern and implementing those techniques in a pattern they will create. Finally, students will be introduced to some significant pioneers of Tezhip in the past and influential contemporary artists in the field.

Required Materials

  • Gouache/Watercolor Paint Set -12 colors minimum (Alternative- color pencils/watercolor brush pens)
  • Gold paint (gouache/Coliro Finetec pearl colors/Kuretake Gansai Tambi (Alternative – color pencils)
  • Miniature Painting brushes – Sizes 0 and 000 (only required if using paints)
  • Mechanical Pencil (Alternative: #2 or HB pencil)
  • 4B pencil
  • Tracing paper
  • Watercolor paper 300 gsm hot or cold press smooth paper (Alternative: printer paper if using color pencils)
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Compass
  • Disposable cup and plastic plate or paint well palette (only required if using paints)

General Curriculum

  • Week 1: Introduction and history of Tezhip. Overview of Tezhip.
  • Week 2: Warm-up exercises. Constructing leaves (Yaprak) and spirals.
  • Week 3: Masters of Tezhip in the past. Constructing Flowers (Goncagul and Penc)
  • Week 4: Contemporary Masters of Tezhip. Constructing a simple pattern
  • Week 5: Painting techniques (Hatai, Classic Tezhip, Embossing, contouring)
  • Week 6: Completing a pattern (painting and contouring)

Our Instructor:

Farzana Razzaque Hoca has been studying calligraphy and tezhip for over five years. She has received her ijaza, the permission to teach the Thuluth and Naskh scripts in the Ottoman tradition, from her teachers Master Calligraphers Haji Noor Deen Hoca and Ahmet Kutluhan Hoca.

Farzana is also studying tezhip, the art of illumination, with Master Tezhip Artist Fatma Ulusoy Sirajuddin Hoca. The term “Hoca” (pronounced Hoja) is a Turkish word for “Shaikh” used to address the teacher as a form of respect.


Calligraphy and Manuscript Illumination & Program Director

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Online: Exploring Islamic Illumination