Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts

Sunday, February 28th 2016 to Sunday, May 8th 2016

The Center for Islamic Studies would like to encourage you to attend an exciting exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco February 25- May 8 entitled, Pearls on a String: Artists Patrons and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts.

Pearls on a String is one of a trio of special exhibitions kicking off the museum’s 50th anniversary year. The exhibition, says museum director and CEO Jay Xu, embodies the goal that motivated the museum’s creation back in 1966 and still guides it today: to serve as a ‘bridge to understanding’ between East and West. 

“The Asian Art Museum showcases art that emphasizes connections across time and place,” Xu says. “Pearls on a String does just that, taking us back to a time of tolerance, when Islamic rulers welcomed many religions in their courts, and diverse groups of intellectuals and artisans were encouraged to exchange ideas and work together.” 

Through more than 60 exquisite artworks, including an eye-catching bejeweled rifle, the exhibition introduces three fascinating and influential figures: the 16th-century writer Abu’l Fazl in Fatehpur Sikri, the 17th-century painter Muhammad Zaman in Isfahan, and the 18th-century patron Sultan Mahmud I in Istanbul.   

“By providing a rare glimpse of the worlds these figures inhabited, including the social connections that ignited their creativity, Pearls on a String highlights the importance of both individual initiative and human relationships in creating masterful works of art,” says exhibition curator Qamar Adamjee, associate curator of South Asian and Islamic art.   

Pearls on a String is organized into three vignettes, each delving into the life of one of the individuals and the society in which he lived. 

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco's premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.   Information: 415.581.3500 or   Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102   Hours: The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM. Hours are extended on Thursdays until 9 PM starting Feb. 26 through Oct. 8. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.   

Special Exhibition Admission: FREE for museum members and children (12 & under). On weekdays, $20 for adults and $15 for seniors (65 & over), youth (13–17) and college students (with ID). On weekends, $30 for adults and $25 for seniors (65 & over), youth (13–17) and college students (with ID). On Target First Free Sundays, admission is $10.   

General Admission: FREE for museum members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youths (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. General admission on Thursdays after 5 PM is $5 for all visitors (except those under 12, SFUSD students, and museum members, who are always admitted FREE). General admission is FREE to all on Target First Free Sundays (the first Sunday of every month).