Students in Professor Jennifer Borland’s ART 4713/5713: The Visual Culture of the Islamic World, took a field trip to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK, on March 28, 2019.
Students were able to see numerous manuscript pages of the Shahnama (or “Book of Kings”) in the museum’s collection. The miniature paintings were originally bound together as a book, and are from the 16th or 17th century. The popular poem, originally written by the eleventh-century poet Firdausi, tells stories of the ancient kings of Iran; many copies were made over centuries. The students also viewed metalwork and other objects from Arabic-speaking countries.
“The field trip to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman was a fantastic opportunity for us students to be able to practice the knowledge we gained in class in a physical space. Being able to see the pages of the Shahnama that we were taught in class was a truly valuable experience. Seeing art pieces via text or images does not do the individual pieces justice at all, and many of the important details associated with it can easily be lost in a photograph. First-hand experiences and field trips provide invaluable insight into the art and allow students to interact with the piece in many ways that are not available from an image. Viewing the art we learn about in person is always an incredible experience that allows students to practice their knowledge and see a piece from all the available visual aspects.” – Tate Chumbley, student