Winner, American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Best of New England (BoNE) 2013 Award
A major philanthropist from the Boston area, Norma Jean Calderwood assembled an extensive collection of Islamic art, ranging from austere and powerful epigraphic ceramics of the 9th and 10th centuries to the introspective realism of late-19th-century portraiture. With more than ﬁfty pieces of ceramics, the collection represents every signiﬁcant period and technique in Persian pottery. It has particular strength in illustrations of the greatest epic poem in the Persian language, the Shahnama (Book of Kings) by Abu’l-Qasim Firdawsi, and also includes beautiful examples of album painting, drawing, and calligraphy.
Nine essays by diverse experts explore issues of conservation as well as the cultural and historical signiﬁcance of various objects in this largely unpublished collection. Topics include the inﬂuence of calligraphic line and physical gesture on Safavid drawings; ﬁgurative imagery on Iranian ceramics; and what cobalt pigment reveals about an object’s origins.
Mary McWilliams is Norma Jean Calderwood Curator of Islamic and Later Indian Art, Harvard Art Museums; Jessica Chloros is Assistant Objects Conservator, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Walter B. Denny is Professor of Art History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Katherine Eremin is Patricia Cornwell Conservation Scientist, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums; Penley Knipe is Philip and Lynn Straus Conservator of Works of Art on Paper, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums; Oya Pancaroğlu is Associate Professor of History, Boğaziçi University; David J. Roxburgh is Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Harvard University; Sunil Sharma is Associate Professor of Persianate and Comparative Literature, Boston University; Anthony B. Sigel is Conservator of Objects and Sculpture, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums; and Marianna Shreve Simpson is an independent scholar.