The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts, a major international loan exhibition, which explores Islamic art through the universal tradition of gift giving. Many of the most spectacular and historically significant examples of Islamic art can be classified as gifts, a number of which will be brought together for the unique purpose of this exhibition to demonstrate the integral and complex nature of gift exchange in the Islamic world.
Organized by LACMA with support from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Gifts of the Sultan spans the eighth through nineteenth centuries and features more than 250 works of art representing a rich variety of media from collections in America, Europe, and the Middle East. Following its presentation at LACMA (June 5–September 5, 2011), Gifts of the Sultan travels to the MFAH (October 23, 2011–January 15, 2012).
The exhibition will also include contemporary component presenting the work of Sadegh Tirafkan, Shahzia Sikander, and Ahmed Mater. These three innovative artists, who have roots in the Islamic world and draw inspiration from their own cultural traditions, have been commissioned to produce new work interpreting the theme of Gifts of the Sultan.