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Flask from Iznik, c. 1560–1580
Flask from Iznik, c. 1560–1580

Empire of the Sultans was a touring exhibition from 1995 to 2004 displaying objects from the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. Around two hundred exhibits, including calligraphy, textiles, pottery (example pictured), weapons, and metalwork, illustrated the art and daily life of six centuries of the Ottoman Empire. Many of the objects had been created for the leaders of the empire, the sultans. Two of the calligraphic pieces were the work of sultans themselves. In the 1990s, the exhibition was hosted by institutions in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Israel, and its first catalogue was published by J. M. Rogers. The exhibits visited thirteen cities in the United States from 2000 to 2004, despite controversies in the wake of the September 11 attacks and the Iraq War. Critics described the exhibition as wide-ranging and informative. They praised it for showing beautiful art works – naming the calligraphy in particular – and for presenting a fresh view of Islam. (Full article...)

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