An art exhibit at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, in the eastern state of Maryland, features 22 editions of Islam’s holiest book: the Koran. What makes these religious manuscripts art is the beautiful calligraphy used to write the tomes.

Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland and a popular tourist destination where visitors can enjoy the scenic harbor and other attractions. One popular stop is the Walters Art Museum.

Martina Bagnoli is an Associate Curator. “The Walters Art Museum is largely based on the collection of William and Harry Walters — father and son — who collected a great number of objects and paintings throughout their lifetime. At the time of Harry’s death in 1931, he left his entire collection to the city of Baltimore. And this collection comprised about 28,000 objects. Among this collection were a large number of manuscripts and printed books. And it can be said Harry started collecting manuscripts by collecting Islamic manuscripts. It was a time in the history of collecting in this country where collectors became more familiar and more enamored of Islamic art.”

Among the Islamic manuscripts are 28 Korans, the most in any American museum. Twenty two of these books are featured in the museum’s exhibit: “Speaking the Word of God: Illuminated Korans from the Walters Art Museum.”


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