Islamic Art of Illumination: Classical Tazhib From Ottoman to Contemporary Times

Sema Onat

The world of Islamic art is vast and intricate, with its diverse themes weaving through various mediums and periods. In Islamic Art of Illumination: Classical Tazhib From Ottoman to Contemporary Times, readers are given a golden key to the doors of classical Turkish illumination, known as tezhip.

The book is less of a passive read and more of a visual expedition, crossing through time from the splendor of the Ottoman empire to the modern interpretations that still hold the essence of their origins. The author, an acclaimed artist in the realm of illumination herself, presents not only historical insight but also practical knowledge, blended with the vibrant, aesthetic appeal of the art itself.

The art of tezhip illuminates more than just manuscripts; it illuminates history, craftsmanship, and the perpetuity of an art form. The juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary illustrations provided in the book offers a rich dialogue between the past and present, encouraging readers to appreciate the time-honored techniques through a modern lens.

This detailed, passionate exploration of Islamic illumination art—or tezhip—is replete with vibrant images and thorough explanations. For anyone interested in Islamic art, geometry, or history, this tome serves as both an educational resource and an artistic treasure. It’s a rarity to find a book so dedicated to not just showcasing artwork but also revealing the methodology behind it.

The book highlights enchanting motifs such as buds, roses, and florals, all meticulously rendered to exhibit the balance between geometry and nature that is so characteristic of Islamic art. The author takes meticulous care in explaining the steps and techniques involved in creating these masterpieces, from their conceptual stages to the painstaking details of application.

Art enthusiasts and historians alike will find solace in the pages of Islamic Art of Illumination. Not only does it guide you through the traditional patterns that adorned Ottoman artifacts, but it also shows how these timeless designs have found their way onto everything from book covers to architectural features in contemporary society.

The author’s dedication to her craft and her willingness to divulge its secrets are what truly set this work apart. It is not simply a gallery of images, but rather an educational narrative, revealing the depth and sophistication of Turkish Islamic art.

For those who seek more than a superficial understanding of tezhip, this work acts as an authoritative source on the subject matter. It’s a book that serves the dual purposes of beautifully adorning one’s coffee table while also being dog-eared and annotated by the curious student or the practicing artist.

In conclusion, Islamic Art of Illumination stands as a testament to the beauty and intricacy of Islamic geometric art. It transcends being just a “best book” in the category; it becomes an invaluable resource, a well of inspiration, and truly a collector’s item. Whether you are a scholar, an artist, or a reader with an affinity for Islamic culture, the book promises an enriching experience that is as educational as it is visually stunning. A piece of art in itself, it radiates the devotion and artistry that tezhip represents.