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Contemporary Manuscript Illumination of Herat

  • Job DurationedX
  • Job Duration6 weeks long, 6-8 hours a week
  • Job DurationFree Online Course (Audit)

Project detail


Manuscript illumination, which has been emerged with abstract and naturalistic features, is considered a national art in Afghanistan. In addition to being used for various purposes, it has been mainly used for decoration of religious, scholarly, and historical manuscripts. 
The content of this course addresses two main objectives: (a) contemporary manuscript illumination of Herat—focusing on principles of Herat Timurid School of Art (b) contemporary manuscript illumination of Herat in accordance to the contemporary manuscript illumination structures and forms of Herat. This is an introductory course to manuscript illuminations. Those who are interested in art can take this course; they are not required to be art majors.
This course will be taught by Professor Ahmad Shoaib Saljoqi, who has designed and decorated hundreds of illuminated manuscripts.


Week 1:

  • Introduction to manuscript illumination
  • History of manuscript illumination.     
  • Characteristics of Herat contemporary manuscript illumination 
  • Required tools and materials for the course

Week 2:

  • Preparing background of a paper for manuscript illumination 
  1. Coloring the paper
  2. Texturing the paper
  3. Burnishing the paper

Week 3:

  • Sketching the elements of manuscript illumination
  1. Paisley design
  2. Petal
  3. Plain line decoration/adding decoration to a stem 
  4. Foliate design 

Week 4:

  • Combining the elements of manuscript illumination
  • Decorating the elements of manuscript illumination

 Week 5:

  • Copying the pattern on the textured paper
  • Applying gold leaf on papers
  • Burnishing the gold leaf with agate stone

Week 6:   

  • Mixing colors and making new colors
  • Coloring the patterns;
  • Provoking and accentuating the patterns.

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Languages required