Source: The Ismaili
“Dancing Dervishes”, a double-page composition from an illustrated manuscript of the Gulistan (Rose Garden) of Sa‘di, Iran, ca. 1615. Photo: Courtesy of the Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Inst.
From the intricacy of calligraphy and the mysticism of Sufi dance, to the illustrative legends that explode on canvas, Islamic art forms have captured the attention of Houstonians. In May and June, the Houston Ismaili community collaborated with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) during its exhibition Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam, to organise educational events that explored and celebrated artistic traditions of the Muslim world.
Art in all of its forms is a universal language that transcends cultural barriers. Light of the Sufis focuses on essential Sufi ideas and practices that find expression in art. Featuring a range of objects from as far back as the 9th century as well as contemporary pieces, the exhibition includes furnishings used for mosque lighting, representations of Sufi mystics such as photographs of dervishes, and illustrated laser-etched manuscripts of Sufi poetry.