Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries
The Arts of India, 1556-1658
June 23 - July 1, 2008
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Unit of Study:      Multicultural printmaking related to International Baccalaureate Economics Unit of Inquiry on the
production and exchange of goods and services

Lesson Title:        Muraqqas Reflecting Individual and Cultural Identities

Discipline:            Art/Economics

Grade Level:        3rd Grade

Author:                  Gary Cousin

County:                  Montgomery County, MD

Time Period:        4 class periods, 40 minutes each

This printmaking unit provides students with the opportunity to learn about how people incorporate symbols in art works to communicate meaning and use team work to accomplish a common goal. Each student will design and create a stamp representing a concept or meaning special to him or her. Students will practice using their stamps by creating printed patterns related to Mughal muraqqas and products from diverse cultures (e.g. Adinkra cloth of Ghana). Students will then collaborate to create team printings by combining their own symbols with those of teammates in an assembly line manner, each printing their symbol on multiple team shared pieces of fabric. All but one of these collaborative printings will be traded with other class teams so that each can combine separate team printings to create a Mughal style muraqqa/patch work quilt, that features symbols from each individual student and team in the class. By employing assembly line processes and exchanging products with those of other teams for the purpose of creating a class-generated product, an economic connection will be made tying the printmaking unit to the homeroom Unit of Inquiry on economics. 


Students have:

  • Practiced drawing and printmaking skills in first and second grade
  • Covered various aspects of economics with homeroom teacher
  • Covered with their homeroom teacher the International Baccalaureate Unit of inquiry: It’s All About Choices

     Central Idea: Economic systems and their impact on mankind
              Lines of Inquiry:
                        -The production and exchange of goods and services
                        -Organization of economic systems
                        -The difference between wants and needs 

The Art Specialist will employ design, printmaking, and sewing skills in facilitating the successful accomplishment of objectives.

Pencils, Linoleum cutters, Ink trays, Brayers, Needles, Thimbles, Paper, Master Carve, Ink, Canvas, Thread



Muraqqa, Imperial Mughal Albums, Elain Wright; Art Services International 2008
The Indian Luck Book, Monisha Bharadwaj; Penguin Group 2003 (for symbols)


Pictures of Mughal emperors wearing patchwork quilts/muraqqas.
Examples of Adinkra cloth and dignitaries wearing them.

Visual references include:
A variety of symbol examples including those used in: Mughal art of India, Adinkra cloth of Ghana, Adire cloth of Nigeria, Navajo sand paintings, Plains Indians buffalo hides and Ukrainian Pysanky symbols, etc. Arabic and Chinese characters may also be used.

Standards/Learner Outcomes
 A) Fine Arts Standards          

1.0 Perceiving and Responding

Use the elements of art and principles of design to organize personally meaningful compositions.
a. Describe how qualities of the elements of art and principles of design are organized to communicate personal meaning in visual compositions.
b. Select and use principles of design, such as pattern, contrast, repetition, balance, rhythm/movement, and emphasis, to give personal meaning to visual compositions.

          2.0 Historical, Cultural, Social

          Determine ways in which works of art express ideas about oneself, other people, places, and events.

          a. Identify different ways that artists use symbols to express ideas in elected works of art.
          b. Select symbols that represent important aspects of life to express personal meaning in visual compositions.

          2. Classify reasons why people create and use art by studying artwork and other sources of information


a. Identify techniques, processes, and materials from different times and places used to create visual art.
b. Describe the origins of selected techniques, processes, and materials used in the visual arts.

          B) Content Standards: Economics

          1. Identify and describe how individuals and groups share with and borrow from other cultures


2. Explain that people must make choices because resources are limited relative to unlimited wants for goods and services

3. Examine the production process


          A) Fine Arts Objectives

 Students will:

  • Use art elements and design principles to create a printed pattern of personal symbols.
  • Identify printed patterns that communicate personal/cultural meaning.
  • Apply criteria for judging printed products.

A) Content Objectives

     Students will:

  • Work cooperatively to create a printed product that will be traded with other teams/cultures to create a multicultural final piece/muraqqa.
  • Explain why people must make economic choices.
  • Identify and apply the steps in the decision-making process.
  • Identify the opportunity cost of a choice or decision.



Assembly line- An arrangement whereby each worker performs a specialized operation in assembling the work as it is passed along
Atelier- Art studio where muraqquas were produced
Incise- To cut into with a sharp tool/stylus
Mughal- Descendents of Ghengis Khan who occupied northern India from 1526-1757, where they established and cultivated a diverse and rich culture that achieved immense literal, artistic and architectural accomplishments.
Muraqqa- Persian word for “patched” or “patched garment” referred to as such because each is composed of many different combined pieces. 
Pattern- A regular or mainly unvarying repetition of one or more elements of art
Pictograph- Picture that represents a thing or concept
Print- A mark made by in or on a surface by pressing or offsetting ink or some coloring agent
Symbol- Something that stands for, represents, or suggests another thing
Textile- Woven knitted or pressed fabric and/or the fibers used to create them

Conduct a See, Think, Wonder activity as a warm up and introduction segment by showing examples of symbols and ways they have been incorporated with various fabrics, animal skins, etc.

 Scope & Sequence

Session 1

Teacher Directed

  • Teacher reads Mastery Objectives and communicates overarching goals and criteria for success in verbal, written and visual/tactile form.
  • Teacher uses thinking aloud strategy while reviewing various symbols and modeling by creating his own personal symbol on paper, transferring the symbol to master carve using entire side (carbon paper may be used).
  • Teacher incises symbol into master carve.
  • Teacher demonstrates inking relief surface and printing onto paper/canvas to create various patterns (aligned, opposite, vertical and horizontal, rotated).

Guided Practice


Tools and materials will be distributed to individual students as their designs are approved and they progress through process steps. Demonstrations will be repeated as needed. Peer tutoring will be encouraged.

Independent Practice


Students carry out above steps. Stations will be set up at each table to facilitate team collaboration/cooperation (teacher conducts formative assessments as students work)


Each student will fill out an exit card.
Verbal Summarizers will include calling on students to explain:

  • What their symbol represents
  • How the symbol relates personally to them
  • How color choices relate personally to them

Session 2

Teacher Directed

Teacher supervises one student team as they model assembly line printing techniques for the rest of the class.

Guided Practice

Teacher repeats demonstration of steps as needed while students work to create a team printing.

Independent Practice

Students work collaboratively to complete above.
While the ink is drying, each student will write a three sentence brief constructed response (BCR) about their personal symbol and will describe:

  • What their symbol represents
  • How the symbol relates personally to them
  • How color choices relate personally to them

The first student done with their BCR will become the team trade representative and will be responsible for trading their team’s printings with other teams to accumulate one collaborative printing from each team.

All team members will collaborate to sew the separate accumulated team textiles together by taking turns and coaching each other. The final team product will be a combined class muraqqa apron/patchwork quilt.


Emperor/mystic aprons/patchwork quilts could be related to the muraqqa books and the next unit could have students create portrait miniatures and related calligraphic passages that could be combined in forming muraqqa books.

Associate Muraqqas with:

Kenyan (Africa) Kitenges- Woven textile used as tops and kilts, which distinguish one’s tribe, e.g. Kalenjin, Maasai, Mijkendy- The 9 villages.


Each student will fill out an exit card including reflection and a grading rubric that provides a self-check that provides a personal and team success rating.

Exit card 1
(Answer with a complete sentence)

What is a symbol? _____________________________________________

Fill in the blank
The Mughals lived in the country of __________________ which is on the _________________ continent.

Exit card 2
(Answer with a complete sentence)
What is an assembly line? ________________________________________

(Answer with complete sentence(s)
Describe your personal symbol and how it represents you.

(Answer with complete sentences. You may continue on the back of this sheet).
What is the most important thing you learned from this unit?

Write 1 comment or question related to this unit on the back of this sheet.

Criteria for success:

  • Each student has created a printed (practice) sheet with their stamp using 4 different printing patterns.
  • Team individuals have all printed on a common/shared paper/canvas strip using their unique personal symbol stamp.
  • Each team has traded one of their own combined printings for one by each of the other groups.
  • Each team has sewn together printed fabrics from all classroom teams.

Closure/Reflection/Class critique- Discuss:

  • Why people create art
  • Why people create personal symbols

How a society can benefit from collaborative work and products

  • The process used in creating personal, team and class products
  • What was learned from the unit
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Sponsored by
the Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies
and the Maryland State Department of Education