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Legion of Honor Legion of Honor
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
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Museum image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Legion of Honor
100 34th Avenue (at Clement Street)
San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: 415.750.3600
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legionofhonor.famsf.org
East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from The Al Thani Collection
November 3, 2018 – February 24, 2019

This exhibition explores the cultural and material exchanges between India and Europe through jewelry and precious objects ranging from the seventeenth century to the present. It features more than 150 pieces made in India or Europe associated with Mughal emperors, maharajas, and their courts. These objects include jewelry to be worn on ceremonial occasions, weapons such as swords and daggers, and precious works of art for display or use. Diamonds were at the center of this exchange, which, up until the mid-eighteenth century, were mined in India and then traded to Europe where they were often recut in sparkling new forms. European enameling on courtly jewels presented as diplomatic gifts inspired the Mughal courts from the sixteenth century to develop goldsmiths’ work decorated with enamel, a practice that continues in India to this day. In the twentieth century, the exchange ran in the opposite direction through Indian influences and gemstones that inspired the work of the great Parisian jewelry houses. Gender plays a significant role in this exhibition as, contrary to Western expectations, the most splendid jewelry was supplied exclusively for the male rulers of India. Furthermore, great pieces of jewelry conceived to adorn the queens of Europe, such as Catherine the Great of Russia or Empress Eugenie of France, could be happily worn by male maharajas in India.

Islam and the Classical Heritage
August 25, 2018 – January 27, 2019

From the legendary life and exploits of Alexander the Great (known as Iskandar in the Islamic tradition) to the insights of Islamic mathematicians who first introduced the concept of algebra (al-jabr), this exhibition brings a larger awareness of how authors, philosophers, and scientists of the Islamic world spread and transformed classical knowledge through the medium of illustrated manuscripts. Representing heroes such as Alexander and other historic notables, including Aristotle and Ptolemy, the exhibition features works created in Iran, India, Turkey, Spain, and Italy from the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries. The manuscripts in this exhibition are drawn from the National Library of Israel's special collection.
Image: “Alexander studying with Nichomachus and Aristotle”, folio 12, verso, in Khamsa (Quintet) (detail), by Nizami Ganjavi (1141‒1209). India, 17th century, illustrations possibly later. Copyist unknown; text in Persian. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper; 36 x 25.1 x 3.3 cm. From the collections of The National Library of Israel, Ms. Yah. Ar. 1021. Photo: Ardon Bar-Hama
Sponsors

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with the National Library of Israel.

Lead Support
The Francis Goldsmith Exhibition Fund

Major Support
Barbro and Bernard Osher

The Future of the Past: Mummies and Medicine
Through April 7, 2019
Gallery 1

Ancient Egypt meets modern medicine in this exhibition that makes use of state-of-the-art scientific techniques to explore two of the Fine Arts Museums’ mummies. An interdisciplinary team of scientists, Egyptologists, physicians, and museum curators and conservators has learned more about how these embalmed individuals lived, died, and were prepared for eternity.

Rebecca Fahrig and Kerstin Müller of Stanford University Medical School’s department of radiology have conducted high-resolution, three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) scans of the mummies, revealing long-held secrets. The resulting data have been studied by Jonathan Elias of the Akhmim Mummy Studies Consortium, who offered much of the interpretation seen in the exhibition.

One of the mummies investigated is that of Irethorrou, a priest from an important family living in Akhmim in middle Egypt about 2,600 years ago. The Future of the Past includes information that has been gleaned about Irethorrou’s lifestyle, the society in which he lived, his religion, and the funerary beliefs of his time. The second mummy, perhaps 500 years older, is that of a woman traditionally known as “Hatason.” Neither her mummy nor her coffin has fared as well as those of Irethorrou, and they present a stark contrast to Irethorrou’s perfectly preserved body.

Visitors can examine both mummies by means of an interactive virtual dissection table supplied by Anatomage, a San Jose medical solutions company. Hauntingly beautiful amulets and tomb furnishings are also displayed.

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