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Future Exhibitions

Romance and Reason: Islamic Transformations of the Classical Past

February 14, 2018 - May 13, 2018

The story of antiquity reads as an endless cycle of expansion, conflict, and conquest.  Yet despite the divisions that existed among peoples and nations, the exchange and appropriation of ideas, images, and heroic figures across cultures knew no boundaries, with the Classical World retaining a particular appeal across countries and beliefs. 

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in partnership with the National Library of Israel will explore these shared ideas and transmutations of imagery as expressed through Islamic manuscripts from the 11th through 18th centuries, a particularly rich and fertile period for these works. The exhibition will explore Islamic representations of classical historical and literary figures such as Alexander the Great, as well as the Islamic interpretations of Greek medicine, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, and philosophy.

Drawing from the National Library of Israel’s special collections and from other prominent American museums and libraries, Romance and Reason: Islamic Transformations of the Classical Past will include manuscripts from Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Turkey accompanied by ancient Greek and Islamic artifacts that will illustrate the popularity of historical figures and thinkers and the prominence of science in Islamic culture and society.

Collected Poems of Khaqani (Kuliyat-i Khaqani) Folios 215 verso, 216 recto: Court scenes Author: Khaqani Shirvani (c. 1127–c.1199) Copyist: Unknown Language: Persian Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Page: H. 28.1 cm; W. 17.2 cm India, 1603 National Library of Israel, Ms. Yah. Ar. 1015 Image (c) The National Library of Israel 

Collected Poems of Khaqani (Kuliyat-i Khaqani)
Folios 215 verso, 216 recto: Court scenes
Author: Khaqani Shirvani (ca. 1127–ca.1199)
Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
Page: H. 28.1 cm; W. 17.2 cm
India, 1603 or later
National Library of Israel, Ms. Yah. Ar. 1015
Image © The National Library of Israel