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Future Exhibitions

Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands

December 12, 2020–Spring 2021


Uzbekistani ink and watercolor of a class.

Mahmud Muzahhib, The Severity of a Teacher Is Better than the Love of a Father, folio from a Gulistan of Saʿdi, Uzbekistan, Bukhara, ca. 1545–1560, ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper, the Hossein Afshar Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


A blue painted star tile from Iran depicting an animal in the center.

Star Tile, Iran, Kashan, possibly AH 690 / 1291–1292, stonepaste, painted in blue and luster on opaque white glaze, the Hossein Afshar Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Bringing together nearly one hundred works highlighting the rich and artistic cultural heritage of Iranian civilization from the sixth to the nineteenth century, Bestowing Beauty draws from one of the most significant collections of Persian art privately owned and rarely publicly displayed.

Works in the exhibition include carpets, textiles, manuscripts, paintings, ceramics, lacquer, metalwork, scientific instruments, and jeweled objects. Highlights include exquisite miniature paintings from the Shahnama, the Iranian national epic; a range of historically significant ceramics; precious inlaid metal wares; finely woven silk fabrics; and a monumental silk carpet from the apex of Safavid dynasty carpet production.

Woven throughout the tales of these extraordinary artworks are experiences, ideas, and emotions shared by all peoples, grouped within the exhibition into the universal themes of faith and piety, love and longing, kingship and authority, banquets and battles, and earth and nature.

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


Organization and Support

Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor

Delta logo.

Exhibition Series Sponsor

Northside Hospital logo.

Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
wish Foundation logo.

Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation
Robin and Hilton Howell

Ambassador Exhibition Supporter
Rod and Kelly Westmoreland

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole
Peggy Foreman
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Margot and Danny McCaul
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.


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