Cosmophilia: Islamic Art from the David Collection, Copenhagen
September 1–December 31, 2006
Fragment of a Silk lampas, 14th century, Central Asia or China, silk and gilded paper lamella both spun around silk and woven flat, 228 x 63.5 cm., 40/1997
Cosmophilia (literally "love of ornament") is an exhibition comprised of 123 of the finest examples of Islamic art from the C. L. David Collection in Copenhagen, Denmark. "Islamic art," a term coined by Orientalists, refers not only to the arts made for the faith of Islam, but also to all arts created in lands where Islam was the principal religion. Ornament is one of its most characteristic features, as can be seen from the objects in this exhibition. The works presented incorporate the full array of Islamic art from its origins to modern times, representing vast spans of time (seventh-nineteenth centuries), space (Western Europe to East Asia), and media (textiles; ceramics; metalwares; carved ivory, wood, rock-crystal and stone; parchment; and paper). Rather than the typical organization by chronology, place of origin, function or technique, these works are presented visually to reveal how artisans in the Islamic lands explored four major themes of decoration.
Curated by Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom, Cosmophilia was organized by the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College in collaboration with the David Collection, Copenhagen. Major support has been provided by the Calderwood Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Patrons of the McMullen Museum. The exhibition is dedicated to Norma Jean and the late Stanford Calderwood, who did so much to foster the study of Islamic art at Boston College. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.