Reproduction of a chapter heading from a mamluk quran

  © 2016 Wajeea Mirza.   This is a reproduction of an illuminated surah heading  from "The Anonymous Baghdad Qur'an" - a Mamluk Qur'an which dates back to the 14th century.  The Arabic calligraphy in the central star reads "Surah al-Nisa - 176 ayas".   Materials : 2 different shades of 22 carat shell gold, 12 carat (white) shell gold and hand ground pigments on tea stained watercolour paper.     Prints available in the online store here

© 2016 Wajeea Mirza.  This is a reproduction of an illuminated surah heading  from "The Anonymous Baghdad Qur'an" - a Mamluk Qur'an which dates back to the 14th century.  The Arabic calligraphy in the central star reads "Surah al-Nisa - 176 ayas".

Materials: 2 different shades of 22 carat shell gold, 12 carat (white) shell gold and hand ground pigments on tea stained watercolour paper.

Prints available in the online store here

I studied the illumination techniques to create this painting with Ayesha Gamiet at The Prince's School of Traditional Arts.  Please see the resources section of the site for more information and links.


Gilding on raised gesso - medieval manuscript illumination

  © 2016 Wajeea Mirza.   The tools needed for raised gilding on gesso.      From left to right: 1) Squirrel hair gilder's mop  2) dog tooth burnisher  3) needle point burnisher  4) gilder's knife  5) small gilder's tip resting on glassine paper  6) gilder's cushion with a piece of  loose gold leaf    7)  a raised letter "J" ready to be gilded

© 2016 Wajeea Mirza.  The tools needed for raised gilding on gesso.  

From left to right: 1) Squirrel hair gilder's mop  2) dog tooth burnisher  3) needle point burnisher  4) gilder's knife  5) small gilder's tip resting on glassine paper  6) gilder's cushion with a piece of  loose gold leaf    7)  a raised letter "J" ready to be gilded

Once the gesso has fully dried and hardened, the letter is gently burnished (polished).  This smooths the surface of the letter and makes it ready to receive the gold which will shine more brightly when the surface is as smooth as possible.  Loose leaves of gold are then cut and carefully applied until several layers have been laid and the letter is completely covered. The final step is to gently burnish the gold until a beautiful mirror like shine is achieved.

I studied these techniques with Helen White at the Prince's School of Traditional Arts - and would highly recommend a class with Helen to anyone interested in working with gold - see the resources section of the site for more information.