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Art and Religious Devotion in Morocco: Notes on a Calligraphic Panel from the Harvard Art Museums

Calligraphic panel showing stylized views of Mecca and Medina and sandals of the Prophet Muhammad, Africa, Morocco, 20th century. Ink, colors and gold on paper, mounted on board. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Edwin Binney, 3rd Collection of Turkish Art at the Harvard Art Museums, 2016.206.

Lecture Norma Jean Calderwood Lecture

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

This event was recorded. Please view the lecture here.

A large-scale calligraphic panel from Morocco features stylized views of Mecca and Medina and representation of the Prophet Muhammad’s sandals, alongside prayers praising the Prophet and a selection of verses from the Qur’an.

This striking work raises the broad question of representational imagery in an Islamic devotional context as well as the more specific matter of artistic transfer from illustrated copies of the Dala’il al-Khayrat (The Ways of Edification). This famous collection of prayers blessing the Prophet, compiled by the 15th-century Sufi mystic Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli of Morocco, found a wide and enthusiastic audience in Islamic lands in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In this lecture, Mounia Chekhab Abudaya, curator for North Africa and Iberia at the Museum of Islamic Art, in Doha, Qatar, will examine the expression of religious devotion through the production of images that reflect a clear mediation with Islamic holy sites and relics of the Prophet.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway. Doors will open at 5:30pm.

Free admission, but seating is limited. Tickets will be distributed beginning at 5:30pm at the Broadway entrance. One ticket per person.

Following the program, guests are invited to view this calligraphic panel, currently on view in the Art from Islamic Lands: The Middle East and North Africa gallery, on Level 2, until 8pm.
Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.
Support for this lecture is provided by The Norma Jean Calderwood Lecture Fund. The Norma Jean Calderwood Lecture Fund honors a longtime friend of the Harvard Art Museums who pursued graduate study in Islamic art at Harvard and who for many years taught Islamic and Asian art at Boston College and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.