The Prophet Muhammad said, Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another. Its in this spirit that the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts.The exhibit features more than 200 works of art from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. (Some 40 organizations contributed items to the exhibit.)
On display are dowry items, such as a pair of oversize golden bracelets from 11th century Syria, the famous and rarely exhibited Ardabil carpet, a gift from Shah Tahmasp to the shrine of his ancestor Shaykh Safi al-Din Ardabili, and diplomatic exchanges between rulers, such as the folio seen above, Shah Jahan Receives the Persian Ambassador, Muhammad Ali Beg. In addition to the vast range of gifts from Islamic territories across different eras, modern artists Sadegh Tirafkan, Shahzia Sikander and Ahmed Mater have been commissioned to create new work interpreting the theme of the exhibit.
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10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m Sundays. Through January 16. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713‑639‑7300 or visit www.mfah.org. $3.50 to $7.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 23. Continues through Jan. 15, 2011