The offering of gifts is a practice nearly as ancient and widespread as human culture itself. At courts throughout the Islamic world, the exchange of lavish gifts and endowments intimately linked art with diplomacy and royal ambitions, religion, and personal relationships.
This beautifully illustrated book explores the complex interplay between artistic production and gift-based patronage by discussing works of great aesthetic refinement that were either commissioned or repurposed as gifts. By tracing the unique histories of certain artworks, the author reveals how the exchange of luxury objects was central to the circulation, emulation, and assimilation of artistic forms both within and beyond the Islamic world. The catalogue features seventy illustrations of artworks from the 8th to the 20th century. These include some of the most beautiful and least-known objects from the Islamic world, such as jewelry, armor and weaponry, enormous and ornate carpets, and illustrated copies of the Qur'an.