when in doubt, visit the metropolitan museum of art

I had the fortune of spending a recent weekend in New York... The primary purpose was to celebrate my mom's birthday.  The other objective was to visit the newly completed Islamic Art galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which turned out to be even more amazing than I had anticipated.  Here are some my favorite pieces (all images from the Museum's website):

The striking graphic lettering on this bowl is the first taste of the glories you'll behold in the galleries:
10th Century bowl with Arabic inscription reading "Planning before work protects you from regret; prosperity and peace"- Iran

So delicate and I love the colors:
9th Century ewer fragment - Iraq

Have you ever seen such a great chess set?
12th Century Chess Set - Iran

The watery blue glaze is most perfect in this talismanic fish bowl:
13th Century bowl with central fish motifs - Iran

That fine dotted line linking the two vegetal motifs is ingenious.
10th Century bowl with red and black vegetal motifs - Iran or present day Uzbekistan, Nishapur or Samarqand

 The form and decoration are so charming:
ca. 1525-40 Ewer with "Tughra-Illumination" style decoration - Turkey

 "Imitation" or not, how daring and brilliant to just drip some green glaze down the sides of this bowl:
9th-10th Century Imitation green-splashed Samarra ware bowl - Iran

The extremely vibrant shade of turquoise glaze on this vase can only really be appreciated in person:
Late 12th - early 13th Century turquoise jar - Syria

All that junk you see at Pier 1 can only dream of looking so awesome:
12th - 13th Century Low table or stand - Iran

Stripes, as I've mentioned, beat not-stripes, especially when paired with carved relief in pottery:
Second half of 14th Century Architectural tile with partial inscription - present day Uzbekistan

I wish I could convince people they need this kind of tile in their lives today:
13th Century Panel composed of star and cross -shaped tiles - Iran

 Jaunty and sepia toned:
ca. 1019-20 Bifolium from the Nurse's Qur'an - Tunisia

Such graceful letter shapes:
9th - early 10th Century folio from a Qur'an manuscript - Central Islamic Lands

 Bolder and graphic:
Late 9th - early 10th Century folio from a Qur'an manuscript - Syria or Iraq

 Yes, please, I'll take this carpet:
Mid-17th Century carpet with niche and flower design - India or Pakistan

 Yes, please, I'll take this tent panel:
17th Century panel from a tent lining - India

 The kind of tent I'd like to spend the night in has walls made like this:
ca. 1635 Tent panel - India

Serious but not uptight:
8th Century Pear-shaped vase - Iran

Simple bird form:
9th Century Oil lamp - Iran

Some serious finials:
ca. 1650–80 Palanquin finials with lotuses - India

I wish I was wearing these right now:
11th - 12th Century Earrings - Iran

Sort of scary like a grenade, but whimsical nonetheless:
Second half of 12th Century Bottle with sprinkler top - Iran

Such playful form and pattern:
10th - 11th Century Bottle with impressed decorations - probably Iran

I want to drink from this today:
7th - 10th Century or later Cup with molded honeycomb pattern - Iraq

Such an expressive shape, like a still from an animated film:
19th Century Figure of a mouse in deep blue glass - Iran

I'd wear any perfume if it came in a bottle like this:
18th Century Gilded green bottle - Northern India

Simple chevrons:
Early 13th Century Perfume Sprinkler - Syria

I've barely scratched the surface of the treasures in the 15 rooms of the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia.  The galleries are an incredible joy to visit and are filled such great designs that would be just as at home in modern lives as they were in the 10th-19th centuries.  Go there as soon as you can (or at least browse the galleries at home on the Museum's exhaustive website)!

1 comment:

  1. what a great synopsis Annie and i couldn't agree more



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