Public Programs: America's Historical and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants

Period of Performance

6/1/2008 - 5/31/2009

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts

FAIN: GE-50041-08

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA 90036-4504)
Linda Komaroff (Project Director: September 2007 to September 2009)

Planning for a traveling exhibition, catalog, website, symposium, and educational and public programs examining pre-modern Islamic patterns of gift-giving.

This pan-Islamic exhibition spans the 8th to 19th centuries and includes approximately 175 works of art from 3 continents. It explores gift-giving, an integral part of the social fabric of the pre-modern Islamic world that signified power, expressed political aspirations, or meant to obtain salvation. Its importance is demonstrated through the numerous and nuanced Arabic and Persian words for gift, which can specify the hierarchical relationship of the benefactor and the recipient, as well as by a genre of Arabic literature on gifts and rarities. An Islamic exhibition of this scope, with objects of the highest quality and aesthetic appeal, has never before been undertaken in the U.S. It will premiere at LACMA from December 19, 2010 to March 27, 2011 and will travel to one perhaps two venues in the U.S. Through these beautiful and diverse works of art, visitors will discover the rich traditions from which this art emerged and gain a better understanding of the nature of Islam itself.