When Islam Meant Splendor

THE DAILY PIC: At the Metropolitan, a fancy flask once met our image of Islam

Rogers Fund, 1957 (57.164); photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


(Rogers Fund, 1957 (57.164); photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

THE DAILY PIC (#1498): When we think of the Muslim world now, we Westerners picture brutal dictators, a wannabe caliphate and endless streams of suffering innocents. “Transformed: Medieval Syrian and Iranian Art in the Early 20th Century,” a one-room exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, shows how not that long ago the Middle East was imagined in the West as a land of great culture and treasure. So much so that this 14th-century flask, born in Iran without much decoration, was reworked early last century to better match foreign clients’ notions of the grandeur of Islam’s past.

And now all we imagine importing from the region is refugees and chaos.

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

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