Current Exhibition

Gold of the Caliphs: Medieval Islamic Coins from the Gary Leiser Collection of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art

February 18 – August 14, 2021

Study Gallery

Due to COVID-19 exhibition dates may change 

Gold of the Caliphs: Medieval Islamic Coins from the Gary Leiser Collection of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art offers a fascinating glimpse into Islamic art, history, politics, economics, and religious beliefs as reflected in coins minted in locations from Spain to Central Asia. Organized by guest curator Gary Leiser, the exhibition features more than 75 coins of the more than 500 coins that Leiser donated to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in 2017. Leiser holds a PhD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in medieval Islamic history and is a retired Federal civil servant.

This exhibition includes sections on the development of Islamic coins, monetary denominations, coins as religious documents, coins as political documents, the iconography of Islamic coins, and the “Lion and Sun” coins of Ghiyath al-Din Kay Khusraw II. As a special feature, the exhibition includes the world’s oldest coin, minted in the 6th century BCE in ancient Lydia on the southwest coast of modern-day Turkey.

In addition to the coins on display, the exhibition will feature text panels, chat panels, annotated labels that provide interesting information on many of the coins in the exhibition, maps illustrating the major dynasties and mint cities represented in the exhibition, a large photo mural of Cairo based on a hand-colored lithograph by the Scottish artist and traveler David Roberts, and a full-color brochure.
 


Financial Support

Financial support for the exhibition and its accompanying brochure was provided by a major grant from the Tarbell Family Foundation as well as by general operating support grants from the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission. Advertising support has been provided by the Oregon ArtsWatch Full Circle Fund. 


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