Islamic Artefacts In Cartwright Hall Gallery

The best discoveries are when you least expect to find something.

On my previous post I wrote about attending a talk by Emma Clark on Islamic Gardens as part of the Bradford Literature Festival. It was at this talk that I found some Islamic Artefacts that I was not expecting to see. The talk took place in the famous Cartwright Hall in Lister Park and so we were placed in a room suitable to deliver a presentation. I entered through the doors, took my seat and listened attentively to what Emma had to say.

At the end of the talk, a curator, who also happened to be a guide, approached the people attending and offered to take us around the gallery. Mr Mistry was very knowledgable and possessed much passion for what he was telling us. You could see it in his eyes. Whilst the tour began from outside the room we were sat, eventually we ended up back in the room, but this time as part of a guided tour.

Throughout Emma’s talk, we were sat right at the front of the room completely oblivious to what was behind us and on the sides. When we went back in the room as part of the guided tour, we were shown Islamic paintings, photos, vases and other artefacts that I had no idea existed here. Below are Islamic Artefacts on show at the gallery:

Painting of An Arab Weaver [1886]

This was painted by Armand Point whilst he was only 25 years old. It is an oil painting and portrays a handloom weaver working in a private courtyard similar to what Armand would have seen in his home town Algiers. The Arabic calligraphic decorations around the frame read, ‘Only he shall tends to God’s mosques who believes in God and the Last Day’ [9:18].

Calligrapher Tools

Whilst the pen case [6] is from the 20th century and from Iran, the rest of the tools are all contemporary and have been donated by the Turkish master calligrapher Efdal Uddin Kilic in 2006. These include four Qalams [pens], a bone pen rest and a knife. These are all tools that are used for precision in calligraphy.

Syrian Mosque Lamp

Before lightbulbs, lamps designed with calligraphy and enamel colours were used to light up mosques. Enamel is a decorative glass-like substance that is melted onto clay, metal, or glass objects, and then left to cool and become hard.

This particular lamp was made to an ancient design and decorated by one of the last surviving enamelers in Syria.

The Mystery of the Ka’bah 2001

Photographed by the famous Peter Sanders, also known as the photographer of the Muslim World, this photo shows us the door of the Ka’bah. The Ka’bah is also known as the House of Allah and is the sacred stone structure in Makkah which all Muslims pray towards.

Peter Sanders, a practising Muslim, is one of the very few photographers that had access to professionally take photos of the Ka’bah and many other Islamic sites as well as Muslim scholars from around the world.

Court of Lions at the Alhambra Palace 2001

This is another photo taken by Peter Sanders. The picture shows some of the pillars within the Court of the Lions within the Alhambra Palace. This is the main courtyard and is located right at the heart of the Palace.

The Alhambra Palace is in Granada, Spain and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the World.

Calligraphy Sample

This is a sample of calligraphy from Lucknow, India and is by Mohammed Al Tayyar. The sample dates back to 1911 and the calligraphy demonstrates the precision and balance of Arabic letters.

Whilst this calligraphy sample is from India, calligraphy can be found in China, Japan and north-west Europe. One such example is the famous Book of Kells in Dublin.

Quranic Calligraphy

Another great piece of calligraphy by Efdaluddin Kilic [1968] in 2006, it reads a line of prayer. It is a practise amongst students of calligraphy that their weekly lessons start with a line of prayer. This one above translates as:

‘My Lord, grant me ease, do not make it difficult and enable me to complete it in the best of fashion’.

Excellency Calligraphy 2006

This is another piece by Efdaluddin Kilic [1968] and includes particular styles of writing called tululuth and naskh. This is another verse of the Quran which translates as:

‘And indeed, you are of a great moral character’ [68:4]

Getting Here

If you’re interested in going, head over to Lister Park (also known as Manningham Park) in Bradford. Google Maps location can be found by clicking here.

By Bus/Train: Get a train to either Bradford Interchange or Bradford Forster Square. Thereafter get the 620, 622 or the 626 bus from Bradford Interchange.

By Car: Click here to find the Google Maps directions and simply follow that.

Opening Times

Open everyday from 10AM – 4PM except Monday

Conclusion

It was really interesting to find these paintings and artefacts within a spectacular gallery. It is worth mentioning that there are other exhibits around the gallery and visitors have the freedom to roam around two floors of culture, history and art. What’s even more interesting is the Mughal Gardens by which the Cartwright Hall is surrounded. Make sure to retreat within the gardens once you’ve finished visiting the gallery. It’s a great place for the family and for picnics.

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