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Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs

April 27, 2016 – July 24, 2016

The Metropolitan Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10028-0198


This landmark international loan exhibition features spectacular works of art created between the 11th and 13th centuries across a huge swathe of land from Turkmenistan to the Mediterranean. Some 270 objects include ceramics, glass, stucco, works on paper, woodwork, textiles and metalwork, brought together from American, European and Middle Eastern public and private collections. Many of them are on loan for the first time. Among the highlights are a dozen important items from Turkmenistan.

The period 1038 to 1307 marks one of the most productive periods in the history of Iran and Anatolia, as the region was brought under the rule of the Seljuqs and their immediate successors. The Seljuqs (or Selçuk in modern Turkish) were a Turkic dynasty of Central Asian nomadic origin who conquered a vast territory in West Asia, stretching from present-day Turkmenistan through Iran, Iraq and Syria to Turkey. The lands controlled by the Seljuqs were not a unified empire, but were administered by their various branches and their successor dynasties (Rum Seljuqs, Artuqids, Zangids and others).

Under Seljuq rule, the exchange and synthesis of diverse traditions – including Türkmen, Perso-Arabo-Islamic, Byzantine, Armenian, Crusader and other Christian cultures – accompanied economic prosperity, advances in science and technology, and a great flowering of culture that would have a profound influence on the Renaissance.


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