Falnama: The Book of Omens
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Praised by the New York Times as "a highly important exhibition book," this lavishly produced catalog reproduces illustrated texts from the groundbreaking exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Called "fabulous" by the Washington Post, Falnama was the first show of its kind dedicated to the art of divination in the Islamic world.
The Falnama were brilliantly painted compositions created in Safavid Iran and Ottoman Turkey in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Falnama: The Book of Omens combines rare images with scholarly texts on the deeper meaning of dreams, omens, and divination.
Featured in this first publication ever devoted to the Falnama as a genre are intact volumes as well as text folios and illustrations now dispersed among international public and private collections. Essays by scholars of Safavid, Ottoman, and Byzantine history and language, complemented by full-color illustrations, offer detailed analysis of the form, content, and meaning of these rarely seen works of art. The first-ever translations of three of the four monumental copies provide insight into a vivid and enduring aspect of human concern—the unknown.
Voted one of the best books of 2010 by The Art Newspaper. 348-page hardcover book with color illustrations throughout.
As Smithsonian museums, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery hold in trust the nation’s extraordinary collections of Asian art and of American art of the late nineteenth-century aesthetic movement. Our mission is to encourage enjoyment and understanding of the arts of Asia and the cultures that produced them. We use works of art to inspire study and provoke thought.
Every Smithsonian purchase will arrive with a museum provenance card explaining how it is adapted from or inspired by an object or objects in our collection.
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