This volume initiates a series of studies on works of art in the collections of the Harvard Art Museums’ Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Essays examine the paradoxical mission of museums to preserve and exhibit works of art that in many cases are damaged by exposure to light; portraits of Mughal rulers with holy men, which were often part of a complex eﬀort by conquering rulers and their successors to establish and strengthen the legitimacy of their reigns; Iranian drawing and the distinctions Persian preface writers made between drawing and painting; and Samanid epigraphic pottery, focusing on the type of inscription that constitutes the predominant-and sometimes the only-form of decoration on a group of ceramics from medieval Iran and Central Asia.
Rochelle Kessler is a former assistant curator of South and Southeast Asian art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Mary Anderson McWilliams is the Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum’s Norma Jean Calderwood Curator of Islamic and Later Indian Art. Oya Pancaroglu is a research fellow in Islamic art history, the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford. David Roxburgh is associate professor of Islamic art, Harvard University.