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Arts of Islam: Treasures from the Nasser D Khalili Collection
Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, 6 October 2009 - 14 March 2010

Some 500 selected pieces from the fabulous Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art will be on view, most of which have not been exhibited in Europe before. The pieces span thirteen centuries and include richly illuminated copies of the Holy Qur’an as well as secular manuscripts and paintings, magnificent wall hangings and carpets, exquisite ceramics and glass, fine metalwork and sumptuous gold, jewels and lacquerware together with carvings in wood and stone. The exhibition will display these treasures in three main sections, Faith, Wisdom and Destiny, to illustrate not only the relationship between art and the sacred, but also what is meant by the term ‘Islamic art’.
I Segreti della Città Proibita - Matteo Ricci alla corte dei Ming.
Treviso, Casa dei Carraresi, 24th October 2009 - 9th May 2010

The Prohibited City in Peking, whose construction between 1406 and 1421 was commissioned by Yongle, third emperor in the Ming Dynasty, can be visited virtually by means of a 1:300 scale model in lime wood, covering an area of 40 square metres. It was made by 14 cabinetmakers supervised by 3 architects. Plus jewellery, garments, bone china and everyday objects decorating the interiors, making the reconstruction absolutely precise in every detail. A special section will be dedicated to Matteo Ricci, the Italian Jesuit who introduced Western science to the Chinese court in the 17th century. This represented a significant link between the Western world and its culture, and their Chinese counterparts.
LUMIERES DE KAIROUAN
9th December 2009 - 7th March 2010, Institute du Monde Arabe, Paris


The exhibition covers five centuries of the Muslim era, which represent the culmination of Kairouan civilization whose influence spread and prevailed throughout the western basin of the Mediterranean. The magnificent collection of Korans written on parchment manuscripts and manuscripts of jurisprudence (fiqh), richly decorated, emphasizes the pioneering role of our country in the sacredness of the Koran and the purification of the Arabic script, for a period of more than 1000 years constituting unique and diverse pieces, rarely united in one single library or museum. The exhibition also includes examples of ceramics that illustrate Kairouanaise ifriqyien genius and his ability to make a synthesis between Eastern influences and local elements. The exhibition also includes works of art of rare beauty in the form of jewelry and objects in bronze or marble, which highlight the degree of advancement and sophistication achieved by Kairouan civilization, more of a collection of archaeological objects which refutes the theory that the artist was banished Ifriqiyan human figuration of his works to the early Islamic era. Following are among its objects in this exhibition stele Latin confirms the presence of a Christian community in Kairouan who enjoyed the security and tranquility. It celebrates the spirit of tolerance, which marked the Islamic civilization through the ages. All exhibits highlight the fact that Kairouan, which represented a bridge between the Mashreq and Maghreb has managed to develop an art school Ifriqiyan has its own personality.
An Enduring Motif: The Pomegranate in Textiles
February 21, 2009 - February 21, 2010, Philadelphia Museum of Art

The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a shrub or small tree known for its almost round, calyx-crowned red fruit filled with hundreds of seeds separated by cells of fleshy membrane. Originating in Persia (present-day Iran) several thousand years ago, this fruit is today cultivated in warm climates throughout the world, prized for its sweet-sour flavor and medicinal properties. Historically, the pomegranate tree’s bark has been a source for tannin used in curing leather and its rind and flowers used as a textile dye. In addition to its practical uses, the pomegranate has been revered for centuries as a symbol of health, fertility, and resurrection. Ancient Egyptians, for example, were buried with pomegranates in hopes of a second life. In Greek mythology, the fruit is associated with Persephone, who is both queen of the underworld and goddess of spring’s bounty. Judaism esteems the pomegranate as a symbol of righteousness and fruitfulness; according to the Old Testament, images of the fruit were embroidered onto the hem of the robe worn by the Hebrew high priest. In Christianity, representations of pomegranates are often woven into fabrics used for church vestments and hangings, the broken fruit bursting with seeds symbolizing Christ’s suffering and resurrection. Islam’s four gardens of paradise—described in the Qur’an—contain pomegranates. According to Islamic legend, each fruit contains one seed that has descended from paradise. And Buddhists view pomegranates as one of three blessed fruits (along with citrus and peaches). Buddhist legend tells of how the Buddha gave the demoness Hariti, who ate children, a pomegranate to eat in order to cure her of the dreadful urge. In China, Buddhists often give pictures of ripe, open pomegranates as wedding presents as they symbolize fertility, abundance, and posterity. Artists have been inspired by the inner and outer beauty of the pomegranate since biblical times. The objects on view in this exhibition represent a cross-section of textiles from the Museum’s collection that feature this richly symbolic fruit.
Maharaja: the splendour of India's royal courts
10th October 2009 - 17th January 2010, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The word maharaja, literally 'great king', conjures up a vision of splendour and magnificence. The image of a turbaned, bejewelled ruler with absolute authority and immense wealth is pervasive and evocative, but it fails to do justice to his role in the cultural and political history of India. "Maharaja: the splendour of India's royal courts" re-examines the world of the maharajas and their extraordinarily rich culture.
The exhibition spans the period from the beginning of the 18th century to the mid-20th century, bringing together over 250 magnificent objects, many being lent from India’s royal collections for the first time. It examines the changing role of the maharajas within a social and historical context and reveals how their patronage of the arts, both in India and Europe, resulted in splendid and beautiful objects symbolic of royal status, power and identity.
The Turkish Season at the Louvre
from 11 October to 18 January 2010
Louvre, Paris

As part of the programme of events organized by French cultural institutions for France’s “Turkish Season”, the Louvre is hosting three exhibitions with a Turkish theme.
"At the Court of the Great Turk": Kaftans from Topkapi Palace. 
The Louvre presents an exhibition that recalls the sumptuosity of Ottoman court lifestyle and the sultan’s regalia. It has assembled kaftans, jewellery and accessories that once belonged to members of the Ottoman household, the majority of which come from the Topkapi Palace Museum. Preserved in Istanbul’s imperial mausoleums or stored in the palace’s former private Treasury, today they form a collection unique in the world, containing over 3,000 exhibits, some of which have been specially loaned to the Louvre for this exhibition.
"From Izmir to Smyrna, Discovery of an Ancient City
". The Louvre’s Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities is organizing an exhibition on Izmir’s ancient past. The former Greek and Roman city, its monuments, carvings and most typical art works will be presented chronologically and thematically. The exhibition will highlight the agora, with a display of its famous reliefs dating from the second century AD.
"Royal Tombs of Anatolia, Alaca Höyük in the Third Millennium". 

The Louvre looks at the period of chieftainships in Anatolia in the third millennium BC. The site of Alaca Höyük has been chosen for its tremendous archaeological value, since excavations have uncovered thirteen royal tombs housing incredibly rich funerary furniture. Six objects from the necropolis are thus exhibited in the Department of Near-Eastern Antiquities, selected for both their beauty and their thematic and iconographic variety.
The Two Qalams: Islamic Arts of Pen and Brush
July 11 - January, 2010
Philadelphia Museum of Art

In Arabic, the word qalam originally meant the calligrapher’s reed pen. Calligraphers were and are esteemed in Islamic circles because their pens write the sacred words of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. The attitude toward painters, however, has not always been so positive since their brushes could depict—thus create—human and animal figures, thereby challenging the sole creative authority of God. Persian poets of the sixteenth century countered this negative perception by describing the painter’s brush as a second qalam, equivalent to that of the calligrapher’s pen. The two qalams came together in the vibrant bookmaking workshops of the Islamic courts of Persia and India where calligraphers and painters collaborated to produce a wealth of illustrated manuscripts and elaborate albums filled with specimens of beautiful writing and painting.

As seen in the sixteenth- through nineteenth-century album pages on view in the exhibition, the arts of pen and brush often merged with exquisite results. A highlight from this group is a never-before-exhibited Mughal tinted drawing of circa 1600, which, in its subject matter and emphasis upon bold outlines and graceful line effects, shows the influence of both European prints and Islamic calligraphy.
Mandala. The Perfect Circle
August 14, 2009 - January 11, 2010
Rubin Museum of Art, New York

The mandala, one of Himalayan Buddhism's most ubiquitous symbols, is created as an artistic aid for meditation. Depicting a realm that is both complex and sacred, the mandala is a visualization tool meant to advance practitioners toward a state of enlightenment.

Mandala: The Perfect Circle explores the various manifestations of these objects, simultaneously explaining their symbolism, describing how they fulfill their intended function, and demonstrating their correlation to our physical reality. An important part of the exhibition is the focus on the complex symbolism of the number five, which plays an important role in Tantric Buddhism. This pentarchy is found in the spatial references of the five directions (the four cardinal points and the center), the five elements, the five colors, the five aggregates, the five wisdoms, and the five Transcendent (Tathagata) Buddhas. The exhibition also displays different types of mandalas, including paintings, three-dimensional works, portable mandalas, and ritual objects that are related to mandala ceremonies.

While many of the paintings in this exhibition are from the collection of the Rubin Museum, the show also includes masterpieces from other museums and private collections from around the world, including the Musée Guimet (Paris), Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Pacific Asia Museum (Pasadena), and Metropolitan Museum (New York).


Rajasthan, Kings and Warriors
Villa Rieter 
5 May 2009 until 10 January 2010
Museum Rietberg, Zürich

Rajasthan, the "Land of Kings", is located in the northwestern part of India, between Delhi and today's Pakistan. The area of influence of the king's sons (the Rajput warrior caste) used to be much vaster. 

The Hindu courts in Rajasthan had no choice but to forge an alliance with the Muslim Mughal rulers that had invaded India in the 16th century. The artists working in the workshops at the royal courts of Bundi, Kota, Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur were thus confronted with the stylistic innovations of painting in the Mughal capitals. The artists were stimulated by the new trends in painting and mostly produced religious series of paintings which combined their local style of painting with the more naturalistic approach of the Mughal artists.
Dance of Fire
Iznik tiles exhibition. Sadberk Hanim Museum and the private collector Omer M. Kok are collectively on display for the first time
Istanbul from 12th April till 11th October


For the first time an important exhibition for celebrate two centuries of masterpieces ceramic production in Nicea (from the Greek): from 15th to 17th century. Tiles were produced to decorate monumental buildings throughout the Ottoman Empire, the wide range of ceramic vessels were commissioned always for the Empire. The exhibition illustrate the outstanding creativity of the craftmen of Iznik, the extraordinary diversity of their skilled use of color and their constant search for technical innovation. The exhibition presents charming themed groups: animals, birds, sailing ships, figures as well as a collection of European copies of Iznik wares, including Cantagalli (Florence), Samson (France), and William de Morgan (Britain).
The Ramayana: love and valour in India's Great Epic
16th May - 14th September 2009


The Ramayana is considered to be fundamental to the art and culture of India and South East Asia and is still regularly performed in dance, drama and shadow-puppet theatres around the world. For the first time over 120 paintings from the British Library's lavishly illustrated 17th century manuscripts of the story from the volumes of Rana Jagat Singh of Mewar (1628-1652) will go on public display in its forthcoming summer exhibition: The Ramayana : Love and Valour in India's Great Epic, 16 May - 14 September 2008. The exhibition will feature loans of paintings, textiles and sculptures from other major collections including the V&A, the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum, as well as shadow puppets and dance costumes from the Horniman Museum. Many of these items have never been publicly displayed. The Mewar Ramayana manuscripts were produced between 1649 and 1653 for Rana Jagat Singh of Mewar in his court studio at Udaipur.  
 The Musée d'Art et d"Histoire of Geneva to open an exhibition of Islamic fabrics and clothing

In 2004, the Musée d'Art et d"Histoire was able to acquire a few dozen Islamic fabrics from Egypt and thereby complete its existing collection. This group is now the subject of a study, to be followed by a publication and an exhibition. The Département des Arts Appliqués (Applied Arts Department) wishes to display this collection which for reasons of preservation cannot be exhibited permanently. Although modest in terms of quantity, this Islamic collection holds some exceptional items such as a Mameluke tunic that is undoubtedly the finest specimen known to date and, from the same period, a baby tunic of great interest for having been made from small salvaged scraps of embroidered linen. Often reduced to fragments, these textiles nonetheless provide essential information on the clothing, living conditions and funeral rites of Islamic Egypt.
Hermitage Museum: "In Palaces and Tents: The Islamic World from China to Europe”
from 14th February to 7th September 2008

The exhibition is dedicated to the contacts between the Islamic World and the neighbouring cultures of Europe and China. Its aim is to display the immense variety of Islamic art as represented in the State Hermitage Museum collections and demonstrate that the Islamic World has never been isolated from world culture but, on the contrary, always remained a deeply integrated part of it.

The exhibition deals with contacts of the Islamic World with its neighbouring cultures of Europe and China and consists in four sections. The first is devoted to Islamic art of the period from the 7th century to the time of the Mongol invasion. The second illustrates its subsequent development well up to the 16th century. Within its framework, the Chinese culture influence, which the Mongol invasion served to intensify, is highlighted. The third section jointly displays works of art dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries from various Islamic countries, arranged in chronological order. The fourth deals with political (both diplomatic and military) contacts between Russia and the World of Islam. Among the exhibits are diplomatic gifts from monarchs of Islamic countries to Russian tsars and emperors.

Tibetan Arms and Armour from the Permanent Collection
December 2007 - Autumn 2009

This installation presents around 35 highlights from the Museum's extensive permanent collection of rare, exquisitely decorated armour, weapons and equestrian equipment from Tibet and related areas of Mongolia and China, dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Several recent acquisitions which had neither been exhibited nor published before have been included.

Gandhara - The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan's Legends, Monasteries, and Paradise
21st November 2008 - 15th March 2009

The Art and Exhibition Hall is pleased to present the first major exhibition of Gandhara art in Germany. Some 270 outstanding objects - among which exquisite stone sculptures, highly detailed reliefs, precious coins and elaborate jewellery - introduce the visitor to the art of the ancient kingdom from the 1st to the 5th centuries a.d.. The presentation highlights the multifaceted artistic production of Gandhara under the Kushan rule and explores the rich artistic heritage of the region, a melting pot of different cultures.
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