Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Divination, geomancy, and the supernatural in Islamic art

By Allison Meier
Finial in the shape of the “Hand of Fatima” (possibly from Hyderabad, India, late-18th to early-19th century), gold on a lac core with rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and pearls (courtesy Nasser D. Khalili Collection, London, © Nour Foundation, the Khalili Family Trust)
OXFORD, UK---Although it has manifested in ways that are manifold, the human belief in the supernatural is something that’s shared across cultures. At a time when misconceptions of Islam have fueled anxiety, such as in the recent US presidential campaign, an exhibition at the University of Oxford is examining the religion through the lens of astrology, divination, and other occult practices to bring to light something that’s universal to our history. Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural opened last month at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. [link]
Geomantic tablet signed by Muhammad ibn Khutlukh al-Mawsili; owned by Muhammad al-Muhtasib al-Najjari (Probably from Damascus, Syria, 1241–42), brass alloy, inlaid with silver and gold (© Trustees of the British Museum)