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Exhibition: Falnama - The Book of Omens


Smithsonian Institution – Thru Jan. 24, 2010
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Whether by consulting the position of the planets, casting horoscopes, or interpreting dreams, the art of divination was widely practiced throughout the Islamic world. The most splendid tools ever devised to foretell the future were illustrated texts known as the Falnama (Book of omens). Notable for their monumental size, brilliantly painted compositions, and unusual subject matter, the manuscripts, created in Safavid Iran and Ottoman Turkey in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, are the center piece of Falnama: The Book of Omens.

The first exhibition devoted to these extraordinary manuscripts, Falnama: The Book of Omens sheds new light on their artistic, cultural, and religious significance. The exhibition comprises more than sixty works of art from international public and private collections and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.


Khaybar: The Conquering Palm of Ali - 1580s

Falnama: The Book of Omens is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The exhibition has received generous support from anonymous donors, the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund, Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, the Hagop Kevorkian Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Farhad Ebrahimi, Smithsonian Scholarly Studies Program, The Barakat Trust, The Packard Humanities Institute, and PARSA Community Foundation.


Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise - 1550s


Beast of the earth - 1580s

The Angel of Death Descends on Shaddad ibn Ad

The Angel of Death Descends on Shaddad ibn Ad - 1550s

Sun - 1580s

Sun - 1580s

The Sackler Gallery is located at 1050 Independence Avenue, Washington, D.C, SW.
The Freer Gallery of Art is located at Jefferson Drive at 12th Street, SW.
The two museums are connected by an underground exhibition space.
Map & Directions to the Freer & Sackler Galleries

Hours and Admission
Hours are from 10 AM to 5:30 PM every day except Dec. 25, and admission is free.