Oliphant from Siciliy, Italy, made out of Ivory in the 12th century. The mount was made in 17th century England out of silver.Photographer: Sean Weaver Photography
March 10–July 2
The Fatimid dynasty’s staggeringly sophisticated caliphate reached its peak in the 10th and 11th centuries. Stretched along North Africa and the Middle East, its capital in what’s now Cairo, Egypt, fostered a boom in arts and sciences, eventually surpassing virtually any other contemporaneous civilization. The Aga Khan Museum’s show will include an array of delicate, intricate objects that include ceramic lusterware, rock crystal, and ivory.
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.