World Bulletin / News Desk
"Falnama: The Book of Omens" exhibition was opened at Smithsonian Arthur Sackler Gallery in Washington, state-run news agency said.
The exhibition displays three falnama, books of omens from Turkey and Iran, which were previously used by sultans, shahs and commanders to learn the future, Anadolu Agency reported.
"Falnama: The Book of Omens" is the first exhibition ever to be devoted to these rare works, which were created in 16th- and 17th-century Iran and Turkey.
"Falnama: The Book of Omens" is the first exhibition ever to be devoted to these rare works, which were created in 16th- and 17th-century Iran and Turkey. The Sackler Gallery will be the sole venue for this international exhibition featuring works of art from public and private collections.
The displayed fortune-telling books were brought from Topkapi Palace in Turkey's Istanbul as well as from Berlin and New York.
Other works on view come from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Freer Gallery of Art.
The most widely published and now dispersed copy of the Falnama was created in the late 1550s to early 1560s at the court of Shah Tahmasb at a time when he had become increasingly preoccupied with his legacy and recounted his memoirs in seven vivid dreams. Another copy of the Falnama was compiled and illuminated by Kalender Pasha, a vizier at the court of Ahmed I (reigned 1603-17), the Ottoman sultan and patron of the celebrated "Blue" mosque.
Much like a talisman or a planetary configuration, the image was the key to unlocking the meaning of the omen. The manuscripts contain a range of images, from planets and zodiac signs to the lives and deeds of Abrahmic and Islamic saints and prophets, and were meant to aid a seeker in the process of making difficult decisions-from embarking on a voyage to waging war against an enemy.
The exhibition comprises more than sixty works of art from international public and private collections and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
It will remain open till January 24, 2010.