Islamic Illumination Course (session 4)
Islamic Illumination Course: Islimi Style

Islamic Illumination Course (session 4)

When: Wed 04 March 2020 18:00-20:30
Where: SOAS, Main Building, Room TBC

Islamic Illumination Course

“Islimi Style”

by Anahita Alavi



Date: Tuesdays, 12 Feb to 22 Apr 2020

Time: 6:00- 8:30 pm

Venue: SOAS, main building,

Room TBC

Type of Event: Short Course

Course Fee: £230 for SOAS Students (including handmade colours and two brushes)

The course takes place in 8 sessions every Wednesdays 6:00 - 8:30 pm at SOAS from 12 February to 22 April 2020 (there will be 3 sessions break from 18 Mar to 1 April).


“Islamic-Iranian illumination” course is designed to immerse participants in magical patterns and colours of old illustrated manuscripts. Inherited by various visual cultures in the Islamic realm, the tradition of Islamic Illumination has over centuries yielded diverse styles each of which fed by a different aesthetic taste. Iranian style of Islamic illumination is an eye-catching case in point.

Among diverse types of illumination, this practice-based course focuses on one of the most significant and common forms of Islamic Illumination, Islimi and aims to familiarize pupils with the various steps of making an illumination work. In addition to a brief historical-theoretical introduction of the Iranian tradition of Islamic illumination, the course comprises a number of lessons that students may engage in at the same time:

1. Preparing the paper; dying, sizing and burnishing procedures

2. Drawing individual Islimi motifs

3.Creating a composition

4. Tracing the patterns on the prepared papers

5. Delicate outlining by ink and brush (qalamgiri)

6. Gilding and Colouring


Following a line of gradual development, students will be guided to complete and paint a simple Islimi motif at each session so that, by the end of the term, participants will have a portfolio of a series of Islimi motifs as well as a piece of painted-finished Illumination.

The course will be running in eight weeks, and each session will last 150 minutes. The classes will be held in a group format; however, the instructor will supervise individuals one by one while they are practicing. This course will be followed by another significant form of Islamic Illumination, Khataei (floral and vegetal motifs) that is the complimentary of Islimi motifs.

No background in arts is necessary; beginners are welcome to start and move forward step by step whereas students who already have a background knowledge and/or experience will be taught according to their level.

Students will be provided with a pallet of required handmade pigments and two brushes (included in the course fee). Students need to bring the rest of materials including paper and tracing paper. 

Registration deadline is 7 February 2020. For more information regarding how to register please email


Anahita Alavi has an MA in History of Art and Architecture of Islamic Middle East from SOAS University of London. An Iranian artist, she has learned Persian miniature painting and Islamic illumination under the supervision of a number of great masters in Iran. Her keen interest in the aforementioned areas led her to choosing traditional art as her BA major. Aiming to enhance her theoretical-historical knowledge about Iranian culture and arts, Anahita also did an MA in Art studies at the University of Tehran. She used to teach Persian painting and Islamic illumination at the Payame-Nur University of Tehran and a number of schools and institutes in Iran. In 2016, she started an entrepreneur project called Muqarnas Art sponsored by SOAS.

The project is concerned with teaching and producing Persian miniature and illumination. This aims to preserve the tradition of Miniature painting and Islamic illumination and transmit the respective knowledge and skills to enthusiastic students. To this end, Anahita has been teaching Persian miniature painting and Islamic Illumination courses at the SOAS London Middle East Institute and British Institute for Persian Studies.




This webpage was last updated on: 02 Sep 2014 12:54