Wonders of Creation: Art, Science, and Innovation in the Islamic World
Wonders of Creation investigates intersections of art and science in Islamic intellectual and visual culture from the 7th century to the present day through the lens of wonder as defined by a celebrated 13th-century Islamic illustrated encyclopedia. Written in Arabic and Persian by the scholar Zakariyya al-Qazwini (d. 1283), The Wonders of Creation and Rarities of Existence is, simply put, a description of the universe, beginning with the stars and heavens, traveling across the Earth, and concluding with humanity and crafts and traditions. Wonders of Creation includes over 100 works—illustrated manuscripts and paintings, maps, scientific instruments, magic bowls, luster dishes, and architectural elements—to evoke a visual journey inspired by Qazwini’s text. Contemporary art, including two commissions by Ala Ebtekar and Hayv Kahraman and a collaboration with San Diego’s Balboa Art Conservation Center, brings the spirit of wonder and human curiosity into the present day.
Artwork credit: Surya surrounded by the signs of the Zodiac, 1830. Painting. Courtesy of the San Diego Museum of Art.
San Diego Museum of Art
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