Islam. Armi e armature della collezione Frederick Stibbert Museo Stibbert, Florence
Through October 16, 2014

Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906) collected arms and armour from Europe, Japan and the Islamic world which are now shown in his villa just outside of Florence. For this special exhibition, a hundred of his finest and most interesting pieces of Islamic arms and armor have been selected from the permanent collection.

Roads of Arabia
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
Through July 6, 2014
This landmark exhibition presents more than 7,000 years of largely unknown cultural history of the Arabian Peninsula. Roads of Arabia examines the impact of ancient trade routes that traversed the peninsula, carrying precious frankincense and myrrh to the Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman world and allowing for a vibrant exchange of both objects and ideas. With the later rise of Islam, pilgrimage roads converged on Mecca (Makkah) and gradually replaced the well-traveled incense roads.

Carpets of the East in Paintings from the West
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Through June 29, 2014

Love for Pleasure: Wine, Tobacco and Drugs in Indian Paintings
Museum for Islamic Art, Berlin
Through June 22, 2014

Wine, tobacco, cannabis and opium: the Museum for Islamic Art in Berlin stages an exhibition of Indian paintings from the 17th to the 19th centuries whose subject is the pleasurable use of intoxication. The pictures introduce us to the widespread consumption of drugs at the courts of the ruling families of India: princes smoke water-pipes, ladies-in-waiting sip from wine bowls, lovers feed each other with betel quids. Opium was also indulged in at court: dissolved in wine or water, swallowed as pills or smoked by means of a pipe. Sensual pleasures also had a social and religious component: betel, for instance, was offered on important festive occasions, such as births, marriages, and deaths, and used as a sacrificial offering at shrines. Wine was praised in song by poets, along with opium and hashish. All three substances permitted the user to reach a state of delirium: images of orgies and mystical (Sufi) gatherings suggest the expansion of perceptions, and the experiencing of the Divine. And all such states of altered perception may be seen in this small exhibition, mostly drawn from two private collections (Habighorst and Reichart) and supplemented from the collections of the Museum of Islamic Art.