Thursday, July 24, 2014

Islamic Art at the Louvre

(Content note: This is basically pictures and captions, not a review.)

The new Islamic art galleries at the Louvre are fantastic. It's a bit of a TARDIS in there, with a small upper gallery and what looks like a small lower gallery that actually opens up and ends up being much bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside. Most of the collection is Iranian, but there is a good variety, and very thoughtful display. The one surprising thing was the lack of works on paper.

This is an amulet with some of the writing in mirror-imarge:

Some other objects in the galleries that caught my eye:

I want to write a separate post about these two objects when I get home:

The inscription on the front of this Spanish aquamanile says: "Work of Solomon" in Latin followed by "Made by 'Abd al-Malik the Christian" in Arabic. The former phrase in this bilingual inscription indicates that it was considered to be an especially luxurious item:

Some of the objects, like this 10th-century Andalusi pyxis, are interpreted for people with visual impairment:

And fragmentary objects are given more context:

And while I don't agree with all of the narrative that they've presented (more reductionist than necessary even for a lay audience), they do a good job in addressing the question of how religion does and does not play into what is so often called "Islamic" art.

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