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Herzfeld in Samarra

June 5, 2002–March 2, 2003

On display is a selection of little-known material that the Department of Islamic Art acquired in 1943 from Ernst Emile Herzfeld, one of the most prominent archaeologists and scholars of Islamic art of the first half of the twentieth century. Herzfeld's notebooks, sketchbooks, travel journals, artistically accomplished watercolors and ink drawings, site maps, architectural plans, photo albums, and photographs are included, focusing on material related to Samarra, the temporary capital of the Abbasid caliphs (A.D. 836–892) situated about 125 miles north of Baghdad. The exhibition highlights one of the most significant Islamic archaeological sites and, at the same time, offers intriguing insights into a pioneer in the studies of Islamic art.