If one had the money, one could acquire an ever-increasing quantity and variety of European goods and luxury wares in 17th-century Isfahan, including Italian velvet, London cloth and handbags, faux pearls and gold clocks. How were these European imports worn and displayed? What did they signify in the increasingly cosmopolitan city of Isfahan, a city referred to as “half the world” by its inhabitants? Dr. Amy Landau will delve into these questions about the social context of European luxury objects in 17 century Persia.
Along with the more traditional jeweled sword and scabbard, this impressive gun served as a ceremonial object, held by one of Sultan Mahmud I’s attendants during state ceremonies. While the flamboyant decoration of the gun lent itself to public spectacle, the experience of extracting its treasures from the gun’s stock is a more personal act. This video reveals the various components of this ornate gun. View this gun in the exhibition, Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts (on view at the Asian Art Museum from Feb. 26 to May 8, 2016).
A series of lectures in two parts (approx. 45 minutes per part)
A lecture series by renowned scholars on the arts of Asia—explore temples, palaces, and sometimes forgotten places of power, religion, and art. Visit world wonders not simply as tourists today, but as monks, monarchs, artisans and artistocrats, traders and explorers experienced them over the centuries.
The sponsorship of art by monarchs, merchants, and devotees throughout Asia will be explored. Lectures will focus on topics spanning Chinese patronage from ancient times through several of the most famous imperial dynasties (Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing) to Jayavarman VII (Angkor Wat), the Safavids in Persia, Jahanara Begum (Shah Jahan's daughter), and even contemporary patrons like the Samsung family.
Middle School (6-8),High School (9-12),College and Beyond
An enticing look at the ancient past of the Arabian Peninsula, Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia features artworks—most of them recently excavated—that trace historic trade routes and pilgrimage roads stretching from Yemen in the south to Iraq and Mediterranean cultures in the north.
Is there something beautiful about an explosion? This is one of many questions raised in an ambitious, site-specific installation by San Francisco artist Sanaz Mazinani presented at the Asian Art Museum between March 27 - May 3, 2015. Threshold presents a video created with explosion scenes from 11 recent Hollywood movies, mirrored and multiplied beyond recognition. The resulting kaleidoscopic Islamic geometries of color, pattern and movement—inspired by the artist’s trips home to Iran—are reflected in dazzling laser-cut mirrored panels that line the space. This interplay between the architectural setting and the moving image results in a shift in perception, prompting audiences to consider the complexities of entertainment, mass media and the violence of war. This video documents the installation as well as the collaboration between Mazinani and dancer/choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith, titled Crossing Threshold.