Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs

Photo: Katharina Weistroffer

Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
April 27–July 24, 2016

One of the most productive periods in the history of the region from Iran to Anatolia corresponds to the rule of the Seljuqs and their immediate successors, from 1038 to 1307. The Seljuqs were a Turkic dynasty of Central Asian nomadic origin that in short time conquered a vast territory in West Asia stretching from present-day Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. The lands controlled by the Seljuqs were not a unified empire, but controlled by various branches of the Seljuqs and their successor dynasties (Rum Seljuqs, Artuqids, Zangids, and others). Under Seljuq rule, the exchange and synthesis of diverse traditions—including Turkmen, Perso-Arabo-Islamic, Byzantine, Armenian, Crusader, and other Christian cultures—accompanied economic prosperity, advances in science and technology, and a great flowering of culture within the realm.

This landmark international loan exhibition will feature spectacular works of art created in the 11th through 13th century from Turkmenistan to the Mediterranean. Approximately 270 objects—including ceramics, glass, stucco, works on paper, woodwork, textiles, and metalwork—from American, European, and Middle Eastern public and private collections will be shown. Many of the institutions have never lent works from their collections before. Among the highlights will be a dozen important loans from Turkmenistan, marking the first time that Turkmenistan as an independent country has permitted an extended loan of a group of objects to a museum in the United States.

Objects on loan

The ANS had a total of 13 objects on loan to this exhibition. Highlights of the loan include:

Gold dinar of Tughril Beg, Rukh al-Din Abu Talib, al-Rayy, 440 H. 1922.211.126

Copper alloy fals of Sayf al-Din Ghazi II ibn Mawdud, al-Mawsil, 567 H. 1917.215.1003

Copper alloy fals of Nasir al-Din Mahmud, al-Mawsil, 627 H. 1911.105.177

Silver tram of Hetoum I/Ghiyath al-Din Kay Khusraw II, Sis, 639 H. 1917.215.911

Copper alloy dirham of Husam al-Din Yuluq Arslan, Mardin, 589 H. 1927.999.106

Copper alloy dirham of Muhammad, Kayfa, 576 H. 1925.13.1

Copper alloy dirham of Qara Arslan, Kayfa, nd H. 1917.216.891