Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts

Now-Sept. 5

Yes, I know. This may possibly be a bit boring when compared to the exhibition I talked about a few weeks back that is still happening at LACMA (aka Tim Burton). Nevertheless, there is absolutely no doubt that this exhibition is as priceless as Tim Burton’s. Exploring Islamic art until Sept. 5 at LACMA, Gifts of the Sultan collects and explores Islamic art through the universal tradition of gift giving.

Once you enter the Resnick Pavilion, you will see artworks spanning the eighth through 19th centuries. A collection of 200 works, the exhibit gathers work from three continents in a variety of forms of media. We all know that in the past gift giving was commonly associated with furthering diplomatic and political ambitions, as well as with rewards for services rendered. Of course gift giving isn’t limited to such ideas only but can also be personal such as gifts on New Years, weddings, expressions of piety – the list only gets longer and longer. Gifts of the Sultan contains works that are associated with all such content on the list and amazes us in educating how forms of gifts range

What is so amazing about these artworks is the color scheme. Islamic Art for some reason always seems to have a certain color scheme. Well, actually not a color scheme but more of a tendency to use bright colors. The works associated with the great Islamic courts from Spain to India do not fail to display the use of a wide range of colors. If you are not a fan of ancient art, perhaps this exhibit might at least stimulate your love for colors.

The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy

Now-July 31

This exhibit, again at LACMA, is for those who love sculptures. Featuring 37 sculptures from the tomb of John the Fearless (1371-1419), the second Duke of Burgundy, the exhibit is located on the second level of the Art of the Americas Building.

As a lover of tomb art, this exhibit got me shivering. I know I might sound kind of crazy, but tomb art is really one of the most beautiful and mystical art categories out there in the world of art. If you are fascinated with Egyptian tomb art from the pyramids or tomb art from China’s emperors like Qin Shi Huang, then you might be quite interested in this exhibit. It may not be as grand as visiting tombs, but the exhibit surely captures the essence of the cold yet beautiful feeling you get when you step into a beautiful tomb – creepy and alluring.

The sculptures displayed at LACMA for this exhibit were produced during the 14th and 15th centuries when the Valois dukes of Burgundy were major patrons of the arts. During this time, many original and profound art was created. The height of art climaxed during that time when John the Fearless’ tomb was made. Get the idea? This exhibit is something you wouldn’t want to miss if you are interested in European art.

Step into the exhibit and you just might picture yourself standing in one of the lower registers of the tomb ornamented in the gothic style with figures of monks and clerics that seem so protect physically and spiritually the tomb. Quite fascinating, if you ask me. Cold and small, these mourners are bound to create a weird tingly feeling in you.

LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, visit