Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq

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Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq

20 February - 18 May 2014

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“Courtauld Gallery opens up identity of 700 year-old treasure”

The Guardian,

This exhibition, held at The Courtauld Gallery from 20 February – 18 May 2014, told the story behind one of the most extraordinary objects in The Courtauld’s collection: a bag made in Northern Iraq around 1300.

No other object of this kind is known.

Inlaid with gold and silver and decorated with a courtly scene showing an enthroned couple as well as musicians, hunters and revellers, it ranks as one of the finest pieces of Islamic metalwork in existence.

The bag was made for a lady in the courtly circles of the Mongol Ilkhanid dynasty, established in west Asia by Genghis Khan’s grandson, Hulagu. This exhibition considered this luxury craft tradition before and after the Mongol invasion.

Court and Craft explored the origin and cultural context of this extraordinary object, alongside displays of illustrated manuscripts, ceramics and other luxury crafts.


Selected works from the exhibition

Enamelled glass bottle Mamluk Egypt or Syria, c. 1330 Glass, blown, enamelled and gilded  © The Trustees of the British Museum
Enamelled glass bottle
Mamluk Egypt or Syria, c. 1330
Glass, blown, enamelled and gilded
© The Trustees of the British Museum
The Blacas Ewer Mosul, Rajab 629 AH/April 1232 AD Brass, raised, engraved and inlaid with silver and copper © The Trustees of the British Museum
The Blacas Ewer
Mosul, Rajab 629 AH/April 1232 AD
Brass, raised, engraved and inlaid with silver and copper
© The Trustees of the British Museum
A drawing from the Diez Album: A lady walking with two pages (detail) Iran, 14th century Ink, colours and gold on paper Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, Diez A fol. 72
A drawing from the Diez Album: A lady walking with two pages (detail)
Iran, 14th century
Ink, colours and gold on paper
Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, Diez A fol. 72
Humay and Humayun in the garden, from the Khamsa of Kwaju Kirmani Baghdad, dated Jumada I 798 (March 1396) © The British Library Board, BL Add. 18113 (folio 40v)
Humay and Humayun in the garden, from the Khamsa of Kwaju Kirmani
Baghdad, dated Jumada I 798 (March 1396)
© The British Library Board, BL Add. 18113 (folio 40v)
Pair of Earrings Iran or Iraq, 11-14th century Gold sheet, wire and granulation Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art © Nour Foundation. Courtesy of the Khalili Family Trust
Pair of Earrings
Iran or Iraq, 11-14th century
Gold sheet, wire and granulation
Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art © Nour Foundation. Courtesy of the Khalili Family Trust
Bag, Afghanistan, 12th or 13th century Leather, press-moulded and painted Copenhagen, David collection
Bag, Afghanistan, 12th or 13th century
Leather, press-moulded and painted
Copenhagen, David collection

Sponsors

  • Friends of The Courtauld
  • James Stunt
  • Oryx Petroleum

Supported by

  • Sayed Z Bukhari
  • Gardaworld

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