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ONLINE: Introduction to Tezhip - Classic Islamic Illumination

In this program, students will learn the basic techniques of Tezhip, the Ottoman tradition of beautifying calligraphy with gold, and explore the materials used by Tezhip artist Fatma Ulusoy Hoca.

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ONLINE: Introduction to Tezhip - Classic Islamic Illumination
ONLINE: Introduction to Tezhip - Classic Islamic Illumination

Time & Location

Sep 09, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM UTC


Course Details


Course Title: Islamic Illumination

Course Schedule: Saturdays: 4 PM UTC (convert to local timezone)

September 9 - December 23, 2023 

[Winter Break]

January 13 - March 2, 2024 

[Spring Break]

April 20 - May 11, 2024

Course Format: Online 

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Fatma Ulusoy Sirajuddin Hoca

Scholarship Application Form [click to access]


Tezhip, derived from the Turkish word "ornamenting with gold," is a cherished art form embodying the Ottoman tradition of adorning calligraphy. As renowned Tezhip professor, Dr. Çiçek Derman eloquently expressed, "The Tezhip artist aims to illuminate the Holy Quran, expressing the depths of their heart through their art." In our Introduction to Tezhip class, students will delve into the fundamental techniques and materials employed by the esteemed Tezhip artist Fatma Ulusoy.


  • Develop a solid foundation in the techniques of Tezhip, including gold application and ornamentation.
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the materials and tools used in Tezhip art.
  • Cultivate a deep appreciation for the Ottoman tradition of calligraphy embellishment and the art of Tezhip.
  • The motifs and skills will be introduced and practiced once; mastery will come later when one joins the Şah Kulu Tezhip Apprenticeship Program. Therefore, all Introduction to Tezhip class projects must be completed before permission to enter the Apprenticeship Program.

Classes will be conducted online using Zoom, and Whatsapp will be used for communication, sharing information, and homework.


Students can buy their supplies from the Islamic Art Supplies (click to view) store.


Week 1-16: Zencerek and Munhani design

Week 17-24: Halkar Deisgn

Week 25-28: Halkar & Munhani Designs


Fatma Ulusoy Hoca has been studying Tezhip with Tezhip master Ayşe Gülcan Özbalak since 2015. Her work has adorned the compositions of several master calligraphers, and she has participated in multiple tezhip exhibitions.


Şah Kulu is the most well-known muzehhip (master tezhip artist) in Ottoman history, and we honor his contributions to the art by naming our apprenticeship program after him. As a practitioner during the reign of Sultan Süleyman, he benefited from generous royal patronage, which helped tezhip and many other arts reach their peak. He was a master of many skills and developed new styles and techniques in tezhip, ceramics, and bookbinding. For example, one of the decorative styles that characterized the court arts that he and his student Kara Memi developed is saz, an ancient Turkish word used to define an enchanted forest.

Apprenticeship is defined as "the method or process of gaining knowledge of a trade, art, or profession from the instruction of a master." In this case, Tezhip is the trade, art, profession, and devotional act, and the master is Fatma Hoca. Students who completed the Introduction class together will remain in their Group and be given a name in honor of one of the great masters. The students in each Group travel together on this path, supporting and learning from one another, creating community and camaraderie, and moving from semester to semester to master the skills according to their Hoca's instruction. Apprenticeships will continue until "permission to teach" in the form of a certificate is given by the master to the apprentice.

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Due to limited seating, we request that you cancel by July 22, 2023, to receive a full refund.

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