Muhammadi Zuhal Karamanli was classically trained at the Topkapi Palace and worked in Sema Nakishanesi Gallery and House of Embellishment in Istanbul before she moved to the United States. Karamanli’s paintings reflect her creativity, classical training in Tezhip, and her exposure to modern and contemporary art. Her pieces
are a cross pollination of the East and West as well as the traditional and modern. She is originally from Istanbul, Turkey, but emigrated to and currently lives in
Of her work Karamanli has stated: “Prophet Muhammed said ‘God is beautiful and loves beauty.’ As an artist, I try to live by this ideal. I am very proud to be part of a
scrupulous and full-spirited upholding of this hallowed tradition of Islamic illumination, at a time when the sacred arts and sciences have been all but forgotten. The primary aim of the Tezhip art form is to embellish the Quran and be a tribute to the beauty of nature. The decorative motifs inherent to this art form include stylized floral and animal designs, geometric shapes, chain and interlacing patterns, and calligraphic lettering. Both the embellishments and miniatures that document stories employ bright colors and gold or silver paint. As the Quran is most sacred to me, participating in the centuries old, classic tradition of Tezhip gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
Traditionally, men have dominated miniature painting, Tezhip, and other Islamic arts throughout history. Tezhip survives today, practiced mostly by women artists who
keep it alive, and I am happy to be part of that movement. Now that I live in the United States, I would like to create awareness about traditional Tezship and Miniature arts and contribute to the study of Islamic cultures at large.”