An international exhibition titled “Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts” is to be held at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) from March 19 to June 2, 2012.
This major international loan exhibition, which will explore Islamic art through the universal tradition of gift-giving, is to feature some of the most spectacular and historically significant examples.
The exhibition is a collaboration effort between the Museum of Islamic Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) with support from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). It spans the eighth century through the present day and features more than 200 works of art representing a variety of media from collections in Europe, America, and the Middle East, the Qatari English daily (Gulf Times) reported.
This will be the third appearance of Gifts of the Sultan after LACMA (June 5–September 5, 2011), and the MFAH (October 23, 2011–January 15, 2012).
Aisha al-Khater, director of the Museum of Islamic Art, said the exhibition celebrated a very important aspect of Islamic history.
Gifts of the Sultan will be organized in three broad sections: personal gifts, pious donations, and state and diplomatic gifts.
The first includes more intimate items such as objects of personal adornment in the form of jewellery, belts, and garments; precious yet utilitarian pieces such as vessels of gold, silver, porcelain, and jade; along with paintings, albums, and manuscripts.
The second section highlights pious donations, encompassing architectural elements, furnishings, and manuscripts of the Qur’an that were part of a religious institution’s endowment, the endowment deed itself, and works, often of a secular nature, that were specifically gifted to a mosque or shrine.
The third and largest section features works that were made for or kept in royal treasuries, representing a broad array of types and materials ranging from rock crystal pieces and courtly regalia to places of habitation such as a palace fa?ade.
The exhibition will also include a small contemporary component presenting the work of Sadegh Tirafkan, Shahzia Sikander, Ahmed Mater, and Gunseli Kato.
These four innovative artists, who have roots in the Islamic world and draw inspiration from their own cultural traditions, have been commissioned to produce new work interpreting the theme of Gifts of the Sultan.
Alongside the exhibition, the MIA is planning an extensive education program including lectures, workshops and other activities.