From HALI 193: The Bruschettini Collection at the Aga Khan Museum
In late September 2017, the great and good of the Islamic art world gathered in Toronto for a programme of events to celebrate the opening of the loan exhibition ‘Arts of the East’. Curator and catalogue editor and contributor Filiz Çakir Phillip introduces this important collaboration between the city’s Aga Khan Museum and the Bruschettini Foundation for Islamic and Asian Art in Genoa.
The Bruschettini Foundation for Islamic and Asian Art in Genoa, Italy, encourages projects on Islamic art in Europe, backs conservation initiatives dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage, and supports art publications that have an educational purpose, especially those dealing with Islamic and Asian carpets and textiles. It was thus only a matter of time before the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto would collaborate with the Bruschettini Foundation to underline the contributions of Muslim civilisations to world culture while also promoting Islamic art.
Now more than 40 works have been handpicked by the collector, Alessandro Bruschettini, for the Aga Khan Museum’s exhibition (23 September 2017-21 January 2018) catalogue, Arts of the East: Highlights of Islamic Art from the Bruschettini Collection. The selection reveals a great interest and a deep passion for Islamic art that represents the epitome of the collecting spirit. The objects displayed in this exhibition provide a taste of the essence of the Bruschettini Collection and reflect the vibrancy, innovation, technical perfection and historical significance of one of the world’s great art traditions.
The time frame of the textiles in the exhibition spans the mid-13th to 16th centuries and makes evident the transformation of techniques and styles over a vast territory, which was fostered by the ability of the Mongols and their successors to safeguard travel and trade routes from China to Italy. As a result, silk for clothing and textiles for domestic interiors became highly cherished not only in the east but also in the west, which developed a seemingly insatiable desire for such luxury goods.
Carpets are of great significance in the Bruschettini Collection. Fifteen examples, both complete and fragmented, mark the geographical and chronological parameters of this exhibition. They provide a general overview of the world of carpets from Spain to China, including Egypt, Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, and India, underscoring local traditions while suggesting their global acceptance as precious collectors’ items.