Smithsonian Museum’s Folio & Manuscript Collection
About the Author
The Freer and Sackler galleries have one of the finest collections of Islamic art in the United States, with particular strengths in ceramics and illustrated manuscripts. Highlights of the collection include: * An important collection of ceramics from the 9th–13th century, representing a variety of shapes, techniques, and designs, primarily from Iran and the Arab world. * Egyptian and Syrian metalwork from the 13th century, including two of the most important examples decorated with Christian imagery. * A collection of 9th–19th-century Korans (intact volumes and detached folios) from Iran, the Arab world, and Turkey. * 14th-century Syrian glass. * A distinguished collection of illustrated and illuminated manuscripts from Iran and the Arab world, including the Divan (Collected poems) of Sultan Ahmad Jalayir, ca. 1400; Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) by Jami, dated 1556–66; and the largest number of illustrations from the 14th-century Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings), one of the most important illustrated texts of the Islamic world. * Some one-hundred 19th-century Central Asia ikats from the Guido Goldman Collection. The Smithsonian Institution has two museums of Asian art: the Freer Gallery of Art which opened to the public in 1923, and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, which welcomed its first visitors in 1987. Both are physically connected by an underground passageway, and ideologically linked through the study, exhibition, and sheer love of Asian art. In addition, the Freer Gallery contains an important collection of 19th century American art punctuated by James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room, perhaps one of the earliest (and certainly one of the most controversial) art installations on record. Each building has its own aesthetic: the Freer is designed in a classical style whose architectural nexus is a courtyard that used to house live peacocks in the museum's early days. It was Charles Lang Freer's goal to facilitate the appreciation of world cultures through art, a noble undertaking as important today as it was more than a century ago, when he first willed his artwork and archives to the nation.