This major international loan exhibition explores Islamic art and culture 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 are brought together here for the unique purpose of demonstrating the integral and complex nature of gift exchange in the Islamic world.
Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts emphasizes a shared humanity rather than singular histories. More than 200 objects of undisputed quality and appeal span the 8th through 19th centuries and represent a rich variety of media from the Middle East, Europe, and East Asia. The show also incorporates a contemporary component: new work by three artists with roots in the Islamic world who have been commissioned to interpret the exhibition's theme. Gifts of the Sultan travels to Houston following its premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).