Dream manuals, talismanic shirts, horoscopic charts and magico-medicinal bowls testify to the changing roles of divinatory practices in the Islamic tradition from the medieval period to our days. A perfect introduction to the Ashmolean Museum exhibition ‘Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural’ on display this autumn (Oct. 20 2016 – Jan 15, 2017), this lecture explores the themes and debates surrounding these widespread yet controversial arts through the lens of art and material culture.
A specialist in Islamic manuscripts, Dr Francesca Leoni received her doctorate from Princeton University (New Jersey). She held research and curatorial posts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Rice University (Texas) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston) over the past 10 years and published on various aspects of Islamic art and material culture. The exhibition ‘Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural’ is the first major outcome of the Leverhulme Research Project Grant that was awarded to her in 2015 for the project ‘Divination and Art in the Medieval and Early Modern Islamic World’.