Parma, 23 March (AKI) – The Italian city of Parma, better known for its fine foods and tradition of opera, is for two months hosting an exhibition of some of the finest Islamic art collection of the Aga Khan, the spiritual head of the Ismaili sect and international businessman. “Splendours of the Court” which opened Friday is being housed in the Palazzo della Pilotta and contains the basis of what will be displayed in a new museum to be built in Toronto, Canada in 2009. The show in Parma is part of a wider cultural programme “Arts and Music from the Islamic World” which runs through May.
The exhibition, which contains some 170 works from the collection of the Aga Khan is divided into two sections.
The first, dedicated to “The World of God”, will display exquisitely decorated editions of the Koran from the 8th to the 18th century.
The second, “The Power of the Sovreign” re-evokes the grand Islamic courts of the dynasty of the Fatmidi in Egypt and the Qajars in Persia, examining the education of the Sovreign, poetry and literature, how he exercised his immense power and also his favourite pastimes, hunting and riding.
The masterpieces on show include manuscripts, paintings, ceramics, objects in metal and wood, as well as textiles coming from a vast Muslim area running from China to Andalusia.
The art exhibition will be flanked by a series of concerts “Music from the Oriental Courts” which will highlight musicians and musical experts from Central Asia. It is organised by the Aga Khan Music Initiative for Central Asia and the Teatro Regio Foundation of Parma.