Browse Items (100 total)

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A map of the Silk Roads created for the Aga Khan Museum Exhibit, Hidden Stories: Books on the Silk Roads. The map shows the physical geography of the areas traversed by the Silk Roads trade routes.

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Robe, Central Asia, 13th century, Silk, woven
AKM816

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The prayer book "Waymarks of Benefits" (Dala'il al-Khayrat), originally composed in fifteenth-century Morocco, was frequently copied from Senegal to Turkestan, at the western and eastern extremes of the Islamic world. It was the most popular…

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Merchandise traded along the Silk Roads included jewels, spices, salt, tea, and - above all - silk, carried by caravans of camels able to endure the desert's heat and lack of water. The lustrous wool carpet design seen here is called shadda, a very…

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This Buddhist prayer sheet is one among dozens of identical copies featuring the bodhisattva Guanshiyin of Great Compassion, commissioned in the city of Dunhuang in northwestern China during the summer Ghost Festival in the year 947 CE. Early in the…

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The oblong pages of this palm-leaf format (pothi) book contain powerful spells or mantras to treat illness, prevent disaster, and grant wellbeing. The five protective goddesses pictured here embody the five mantra collections that make up the text.…

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The lacquered cover of this Shahnameh manuscript showcases a dense pattern of grape-bearing vine scrolls, which continued to be an influential motif over the following centuries. This handwritten manuscript contains the Shahnameh (literally, 'Book of…

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This 18th-century register records the names and baptism dates of Indigenous children in the Mexico City parish of San Sebastian. In the colonial period, Catholic Church parishes kept separate record books for communities of Indigenous, African,…

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This fifteenth-century copy of an important textbook in Islamic law is intricately annotated with the notes of a legal expert (Arabic, faqih) in Egypt who likely was using the book as a teaching tool. The notes are mainly case studies and problems in…

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This hand-coloured woodblock print shows a group of women of the upper class in a scene of collective reading, gathered around a reading stand, while another woman at right brings in more books. The women are likely reading poetry or popular…

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This Jewish marriage contract (Hebrew, ketubah) details the groom's financial obligations to the bride in the event of divorce or widowhood. Both text and decorative object, designed to be displayed in the couple's home, it belonged to David ben…

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This luxurious robe tells four different stories. It shows the court of wise King Solomon, illustrating his marvellous ability to understand the languages of all creatures, followed by that of the Abbasid caliph Haroun al-Rashid, offering a…

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These delicate tapestry-woven textile armbands with inscriptions (Arabic, tiraz) rendered in golden Kufic script lettering would have adorned the wearer's body in a luxurious echo of the regal blue and gold parchment Qur'ans produced during the…

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Used for protection against illness, difficult childbirth, and the evil eye, this Ethiopian amulet scroll (Amharic, kitab; Arabic for 'book') was created by an ordained minister (Amharic, debtara) from pieces of parchment tailored to the height of…

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This Burmese book of Buddhist scriptures (Kamawa-sa) includes selections written in Pali from the Tipitaka (literally, 'three baskets') of Therevada, the most ancient form of Buddhism. Costly and ornate Kamawa-sa were written on cloth or palm leaves…

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This late copy of the Dala'il al-Khayrat was created in Morocco, where the work was originally composed four hundred years earlier. Thousands of others were produced throughout the Islamic world, making it the most popular devotional work after the…

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Spiritual travel is experienced through sung prayer as well as through map image. This choir book or 'antiphoner' includes chants for the Christian Holy Week of Easter. So heavy that it can only be moved by two people, this enormous book would have…

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Persian, Indian, and European forms converge in this stunning painting of Alexander the Great (Persian, Eskandar). Seated in a pose that resembles that of the Mughal ruler Humayun, Eskandar wears a helmet engraved with the image of a horse - perhaps…

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The Mishneh Torah (not to be confused with the early medieval Mishnah that appears earlier in the exhibition) was composed by the philosopher and physician Maimonides (1138-1204). Born in Cordoba, Spain, Maimonides wrote his major works in Morocco…

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This Hebrew Bible was written and decorated in 1307 in Christian-ruled Toledo at a time when Jewish life in Spain was becoming increasingly difficult, culminating in the final expulsion of Jews as well as Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492.…
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