The courses aim to not only make you familiar with the beauty of this art, but also teach you in an authentic way. These courses do not just focus on the techniques, they provide you with required knowledge and skill of drawing 



(Safavid Border)

 Zoom Online Course

Organised by Iranian Arts Society, 


What this course teaches you: 

1.      Drawing individual motifs in the given border including:

           -  Khataei motifs (flowers and leaves)

           -   Islimi motifs (the motifs located in the internal lobed frames)

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

3. How to calculate and construct the border structure

4. Tracing the patterns on our prepared papers

5. Gilding, mixing and applying colors

6. How to draw and add the needle-like motifs

7. Delicate outlining and shading the motifs

8. How to elaborate the narrow decorative borders (including the weaving pattern) and complete the work


14 March- 2 May

(Every Sunday)


4pm- 6pm

(UK time)

Course Fee:

£210 for SOAS Students 

£250 for non-SOASians

Anahita Alavi / Artist / Muqarnas Art / Islamic Illumination course


While working on this particular piece, you will become familiar with the principals of composition to combine the two main motifs  mentioned (Khataei and Islimi). The course addresses half of this work, however, by completing 1/2 of the border, students will be acquiring the required skill and knowledge to complete and paint the entire border by themselves. The course runs in 8 weeks with each session lasting 120 minutes. The classes will be held in a group format; however, students are welcome to send their practices to our tutor and receive instructions and corrections individually. Furthermore, participants will have access to the recordings of the lessons, therefore, in case they miss some sessions, they will be able  to catch up.

No background in arts is necessary; so beginners are welcome too. 

Among various compositions of Islamic illumination, this practice-based course focuses on one of the most significant masterpieces of the Safavid style (a 16th-century illuminated Quran) as a basis to teach Islamic Illumination techniques and skills. The course aims to instruct how simply to analyse, draw and paint this beautiful border from the Ruzbihan Quran. Participants will practice various steps of making an illumination work; from preparing the paper towards a completed work. 

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Islamic illumination course

Khataei Patterns

Organised by Iranian Arts Society, SOAS

Learn to draw  various Khataei motifs (floral and vegetal), use them in composition, paint, outline and shade them.


Islamic illumination course

Islimi Patterns 

Organised by Iranian Arts Society, SOAS

Learn to draw  various Islimi motifs (biomorphic motifs), use them in composition, paint, outline and shade them.

Islamic Illumination practiced by my students!