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PHOTO GALLERY: Metropolitan Museum opens renovated galleries for Islamic art and culture

Grand reopening of a suite of 15 dramatic New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia took place at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on 1 November

Ahram Online, Thursday 10 Nov 2011
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The greatly enlarged, freshly conceived, and completely renovated galleries house the Metropolitan’s renowned collection of Islamic art — one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of this material in the world. Design features within the new space highlight both the diversity and the interconnectedness of the numerous cultures represented there; multiple entryways allow visitors to approach the new galleries — and the art displayed within — from different perspectives.

“The opening of these extraordinary new galleries underscores our mission as an encyclopaedic museum and provides a unique opportunity to convey the grandeur and complexity of Islamic art and culture at a pivotal moment in world history,” stated Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum.

“In sequence, the 15 new galleries trace the course of Islamic civilization, over a span of 13 centuries, from the Middle East to North Africa, Europe, and Central and South Asia. This new geographic orientation signals a revised perspective on this important collection, recognising that the monumentality of Islam did not create a single, monolithic artistic expression, but instead connected a vast geographic expanse through centuries of change and cultural influence.”

The collection comprises more than 12,000 works of art drawn from an area that extends from Spain in the west to India in the east. Some 1,200 works of art in all media are on view at any time, representing all major regions and artistic styles, from the seventh century onward. Important loans from the Hispanic Society of America are also shown.

The galleries were closed for renovation in May 2003 as part of the Museum’s comprehensive “21st-Century Met” interior construction project throughout the south wing of its Fifth Avenue building.

PHOTOS:   

 1.

Reception Room (Qa'a), dated A.H. 1119/A.D. 1707, Syria, Damascus

Wood (poplar) with gesso relief, gold and tin leaf, glazes and paint; wood (cypress, poplar, and mulberry), mother-of-pearl, marble and other stones; stucco with glass; plaster ceramic tiles, iron, brass

H. Antechamber 6.7 m; seating area 5.17m, L. 7.9 m, W. 5 m

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of The Hagop Kevorkian Fund, 1970 (1970.170)

2.

Gallery 454: Egypt and Syria (10th-16th centuries)

New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, opened on 1 November 2011, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

3.

Gallery 464-Later South Asia (16th-20th centuries)

New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, opened on 1 November 2011, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

4.

Gallery 456: Moroccan Court

Patti Cadby Birch Court

New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, opened on 1 November 2011, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

5.

Folio from the Blue Quran, second half of 9th–mid-10th century, Probably Tunisia, Qairawan

Gold and silver on indigo-dyed parchment, 30.4 x 40.2 cm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2004 (2004.88)

6.

The Ballard Ottoman Prayer Carpet, ca. 1575-90, Probably Turkey, Istanbul

Silk (warp and weft), wool (pile), cotton (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile L. 172.7 cm W. 127 cm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The James F. Ballard Collection, Gift of James F. Ballard, 1922 (22.100.51)

7.

The Emperor's Carpet (detail), second half of 16th century, Iran

Silk (warp and weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile, 759.5 x339 cm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1943 (43.121.1)

8.

“The Feast of Sada” from Shah Tahmasp’s Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi

Attributed to Sultan Muhammad (active first half of 16th century), Poet Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020), Iran, Tabriz

Opaque watercolour, ink, silver, and gold on paper

Image: 24.1 x 23 cm. Page: 47 x 31.8 cm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970. (1970.301.2)

9.

Ceramic Plate, mid-16th century, Turkey, Iznik

Stonepaste; painted in turquoise and two hues of blue under a transparent glaze H. 7.6 cm, Diam. 39.4 cm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.727)

10.

Tughra (Official Signature) of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, ca. 1555-60, Turkey, Istanbul

Ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper, 52.1 x 64.5 cm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1938 (38.149.1)

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