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

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Awarded the 2012 prize for 'Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue for 2011' by the American Association of Museum Curators (AAMC) 

Edited By Linda Komaroff with essays by Linda Komaroff, Michael Morony, Avinoam Shalem, Anthony Cutler, Sheila Blair, Abdallah Kahil, Jonathan Bloom, Wheeler Thackston, Ralph Kauz, Marianna Shreve Simpson, Francesca Leoni, Tim Stanley, Ilber Ortayli, Aimee Froom, Sue Stronge, Edward Kasinec and Robert Davis, Olga Vasilyeva and Keelan Overton.

This beautifully illustrated book was published in conjunction with GIfts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts at LACMA from June 5-September 5, 2011.

The giving of gifts--state, religious, and personal--is a practice nearly as ancient and widespread as human culture itself. This sumptuously illustrated catalogue is the first investigation of gift giving and its impact on the development of art in the Islamic world. Gifts of the Sultan features more than 250 rare and costly works of art associated with gift exchange among the courts of Islam and with those of Byzantium, western Europe, and eastern Asia. Through this window it provides a broad and layered view of Islamic art and culture from the eighth through the nineteenth century.

At courts throughout the Islamic world, the practice of lavish gift exchange intimately linked art with diplomacy, religion, and personal relationships. This book examines the complex interplay between artistic production and gift-based patronage by presenting numerous works of great aesthetic refinement, either commissioned or repurposed as gifts.

By following the unique histories of selected artworks, Gifts of the Sultan also explores how the exchange of luxury objects was central to the circulation, emulation, and assimilation of artistic forms both within and beyond the Islamic world. Through its exemplary scholarship and exquisite illustrations, this beautifully produced volume provides a new dimension to the understanding of the arts of the Islamic world.

Linda Komaroff is curator of Islamic art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and author or editor of numerous books and articles on aspects of Islamic art. She organized Gifts of the Sultan exhibition at LACMA.

- Hardcover only
- 336 pages, 9 x 12 inches
- 250 color illustrations
- 2011

SKU #24578

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