Tuesday, November 03, 2009


D.C. is full of little-known treasures, and the Freer Gallery of Art is one of them. Right now there's an exhibition that I am longing to go see:

October 24, 2009–January 24, 2010
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Whether by consulting the position of the planets, casting horoscopes, or interpreting dreams, the art of divination was widely practiced throughout the Islamic world. The most splendid tools ever devised to foretell the future were illustrated texts known as the Falnama (Book of omens). Notable for their monumental size, brilliantly painted compositions, and unusual subject matter, the manuscripts, created in Safavid Iran and Ottoman Turkey in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, are the center piece of Falnama: The Book of Omens. The first exhibition devoted to these extraordinary manuscripts, Falnama: The Book of Omens sheds new light on their artistic, cultural, and religious significance. The exhibition comprises more than sixty works of art from international public and private collections and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

I have to admit that I'd never even heard of this form of divination.

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