The World of the Fatimids

The World of the Fatimids

Bowl, Egypt, 12th century
Bowl, Egypt, 12th century. Ceramic, lustre-painted

The World of the Fatimids bears witness to a remarkable dynasty that built one of the world’s oldest universities, compiled one of its greatest libraries, and fostered a flowering of the arts and sciences. At its height in the 10th and 11th centuries, the Fatimids established one of the greatest civilizations in the world, influencing knowledge and culture throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Near East.

The exhibition marks the first time a carefully selected collection of masterpieces from the Fatimid dynasty are shown in North America. Among the objects are monumental marble reliefs, never before shown abroad, from the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, luxury objects ranging from rock crystal and ivory to ceramic lusterware — a technique mastered during Fatimid times — and masterpieces of metalware. Drone videography and 360 virtual reality films conjure up Cairo, the Fatimids’ flourishing capital, and offer insight into what the city was like a millennium ago.

(Photo: Bowl, Egypt, 12th century. Ceramic, lustre-painted. Courtesy of The American University in Cairo)

Exhibition Highlights

Kohl Container
Exhibition Highlights
Kohl Container, Egypt, 12th century
rock crystal, carved
Copyright © Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo
Casket, Spain, 11th or 12th century
wood, covered with ivory and bone, painted and gilded decorations, L: 9.2cm, H: 9.2cm, W:6.7 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 11-1866. Image copyright © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Panel, Egypt, ca. 1771
marble, carved
Copyright © Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo
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