Islamic Art


Islamic Art

Ahmanson Building, Level 4: Artworks on view

The museum houses a highly significant collection of Islamic art. These widely diverse arts, from an area extending from southern Spain to Central Asia, trace the distinctive visual imagination of Islamic artists over a period of fourteen hundred years. The collection consists of over 1,700 works, of which some 150 examples are on view; these include glazed ceramics, inlaid metalwork, enameled glass, carved wood and stone, and manuscript illustration, illumination, and calligraphy.

Tunisia, probably Qairawan

Egypt or Syria
Mid-14th century
Nushirvan Receives an Embassy from the Khaqan
c. 1530–35
Greater Iran
15th century
Dish with Artichokes and Tulips
Turkey, Iznik
c. 1550–55

Preserving a Small Piece of Damascus

When a curator decides to pursue an acquisition, in discussion with the director and subject to the approval of the board of trustees, the preparation often includes a complete immersion process. This was certainly the case in the fall and early winter of 2011–12, as I prepared to present for acquisition a period room from eighteenth-century Damascus, Syria. As arcane as the subject might sound, there is quite a bit written on daily life in this time and place that gives a good idea of how Damascenes lived: what they ate, what they wore, and how their homes were laid out, organized, and furnished...

New Acquisition: Shirin Neshat, Speechless

Shirin Neshat is perhaps the best-known artist of the Iranian diaspora following the 1979 Revolution, which replaced a secular regime with an Islamic republic. Born in Qazvin, she left Iran at the age of sixteen to study in the United States; she received her BA, MA, and MFA from the University of California, Berkeley, before moving to New York...