Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Izmiri
Gold and colors on paper
This page is from an Egyptian version of a treatise on fantastic devices written in 1204 by the famous Arab inventor al-Jazari. The burning yellow candle releases metal balls into the red sling attached to the swordsman’s arm, causing him to drop the sword to trim the wick. The ball then falls into the falcon at the base, indicating that an hour has passed. Why include manuscript paintings from the Islamic world in this gallery? With her love of Venice, a city that maintained vibrant ties with the Middle East, Gardner may have created this installation as a reminder of the importance of Islamic art and culture in the Renaissance.