Five hundred years ago, the Islamic world ruled much of North Africa, Persia, and Eastern Europe. Protestant Christian England, newly estranged from Catholic Europe, forged lucrative trade, diplomatic, and cultural relations with these Muslim global powers. By the late 1500s, few prosperous English homes lacked a Turkey carpet, silks, ceramics, or tapestries. These goods, as well as domestically produced versions of them, later found their way into English daily life. Yet, as much as the English admired the sumptuous wares, the tiny, isolated island nation wrestled over doing business with a people it deemed “heathen.” This exhibition examines that fundamental attraction and ambivalence.
This project is part of Living Rooms, an initiative to present Mia’s historic interiors and decorative arts collections in new ways.
Generous support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and donors at the 2014 Mia Gala.
Additional support provided by The Chipstone Foundation.