Islamic Art (700-2000)

The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art is an unprecedented 27-volume series (comprising 37 books) of which 27 books are now published, and when completed will form a unique survey of the field. The General Editor is Dr Julian Raby, previously Lecturer at Oxford University and former Director of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Eminent academics and specialists around the world have been commissioned to write the volumes. With holdings of more than 28 ,000 objects documenting the range of artistic production of the Islamic lands over a period of some 1,400 years, the Collection now ranks among the best in the world and represents a new generation of Islamic art collections. Calligraphy, which plays an essential role in the art of the Islamic world, has been given a central place in the Collection, which includes an outstanding array of manuscripts of the Holy Qur’an and of illustrated and illuminated manuscripts. The coverage of the decorative arts – ceramics, carpets and textiles, carved stone and wood, glass, lacquer, jewellery, and metalwork – as well as arms and armour, coins, scientific instruments, and seals is comprehensive.

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Islamic Art (700-2000)

Two traditions determine the make-up of most private collections today. One is that of the connoisseur, who gathers together a few select items on the basis of their aesthetic merit. The other is the comprehensive approach, where the emphasis of the collector is on assembling complete series of objects. The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art is remarkable in that it combines both these traditions within an overall scheme. The Collection includes an outstanding array of manuscripts of the Holy Qur’an and of illustrated manuscripts, and the coverage of the decorative arts – ceramics, textiles, glass, metalwork, as well as seals and coins – is comprehensive. A central place has been given to the art of calligraphy, which plays an essential role in the art of the Islamic world. The holdings of manuscripts and folios of the Holy Qur’an are the first to have been assembled systematically in order to illustrate the whole history of Qur’an production, both in terms of time span and geographical range – from the 8th to the 20th centuries, and from Morocco to China. Similar sequences have been assembled for painting and the decorative arts. Later Islamic art has not generally enjoyed the same level of attention as that of the 10th–16th centuries. Yet, the wealth of important objects and manuscripts from later periods in the Collection shows that much art worthy of our attention on aesthetic as well as historical and intellectual grounds was produced in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

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Emerald-set Box

This sides and lid of this spectacular gold box are set with 103 emeralds, perfectly matched and fitted. They are carved…

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Saddle Fittings and Horse Trappings

Despite their decoration in Chinese style, the saddle and horse trappings were reportedly discovered…

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Islamic Art Publications available from www.khalilicollections.org

Each work of art in the Khalili Collections has been meticulously conserved, researched, catalogued and published as part of what is considered to be one of the most ambitious art scholarship projects in modern history. Seventy-two of over a hundred planned volumes have already been published, edited by Professor Nasser D. Khalili and with contributions from the world’s leading experts in each respective field.

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