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Sackler Portugal Treasures

Sackler to Display Treasures of Portuguese Explorers

The Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery announced yesterday that next summer it will present the largest show in its 19-year history, an unusual exploration of objects from the trading and colonization forays made by the early Portuguese explorers.

By Jacqueline Trescott, found at Washington Post 
Wednesday, December 6, 2006; Page C02

"Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries," will have 300 objects from Brazil, the Persian Gulf, Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Japan and China. The three-month show, which was formally announced at a news conference in Lisbon, will open June 23, 2007. The exhibit will take up so much space that some of it will overflow into the Smithsonian's adjacent National Museum of African Art.

sackler portugal treasuresMuseu Nacional De Arte Antiga - Museu Nacional De Arte Antiga



"With its global message and major components devoted to the arts of Asia and the Near East, 'Encompassing the Globe' is an ideal exhibition for the Smithsonian and a perfect opportunity for collaboration between the Sackler and our neighbor, the National Museum of African Art," said Julian Raby, the director of both the Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art.

The show expands the Sackler's core mission of showing Asian art to include the exchanges that occurred in the 1500s and 1600s along the trade routes that connected Europe and the rest of the world. The Portuguese were leaders in oceangoing commerce.

The show will include objects collected by Europe's leading families of the time, including the Habsburgs and the Medicis. The rich patrons of the arts gathered the rare objects in "cabinets of wonder" or other spaces, a practice that predated the formal museum.

The trade route along West and Central Africa will be represented by hunting horns and saltcellars made of ivory. A section of religious works will include terra cotta statues from Brazil. Maps of the world as it was known during navigation by the Portuguese ships will be displayed. Another section will include scientific instruments made by Jesuit missionaries for the imperial Chinese court.

The show was three years in the planning. The partners for the project are the Ministry of Culture of Portugal and the Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian, a 50-year-old foundation that supports the arts and other efforts.

The guest curator is Jay Levenson, director of the Museum of Modern Art's international program. The exhibition will also travel to the Musee des Beaux Arts in Brussels.


Portugal art exhibit, stool made from bones of elephantafrican map discovery video
Art Exhibit Encompasses the World of Portuguese Explorations and African Map discovery


encompassing the globeEncompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries 

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