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Filed under: News and photos — admin     3:13 pm June 6, 2011

Beyond its apparent beauty, Islamic art isn’t always easy for Westerners to understand.

Leave it to a new exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to shed light on its symbolism in the context of gift giving.

“Some of the best examples of Islamic art were made as gifts or repurposed as gifts,” says Linda Komaroff, curator of the major international exhibition “Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts,” now on view through Sept. 5.

The thematic show spans the eighth to the beginning of the 20th centuries and features more than 250 works of art made of rare and precious materials and commissioned from the best artists and craftsmen of the day. These gifts came in many forms, including Chinese blue and white tableware, silk carpets, richly illuminated Qurans, enameled and gilded glass and jewel-encrusted armor.

From the personal to the pious to the diplomatic, “Gifts of the Sultan” demonstrates the nature of gift giving in the Islamic world, from southern Spain to northern India.

But there is no set path for visitors to follow in this exhibition.

“You’re simply meant to let your eye lead you around to whatever you find beautiful,” Komaroff says, passing through an Islamic arch into an octagonal enclosure near the entrance of the exhibition.

The area creates a sense of intimacy for the types of gifts that would have been exchanged between individuals and rarely, if ever, documented.

Source : Los Angeles Daily News

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