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Wed 27 August - Sun 16 November 2008
For the first time ever in Europe, a large number of exquisite objects of great cultural and historical significance have been brought together from various museums in Azerbaijan. Most of the objects could previously only have ever been viewed in their own country. Gathered together here, they give us an insight into a country which, due to its geographical position, has for centuries found itself on the cusp of tensions between Persia, the Ottoman Empire and Russia respectively. Excavations point to a thousand year old history of settlements which stretch up to the time of the Arabian conquests in the 7th century.
Islamic decor, prized manuscripts and miniature figures all attest to the burgeoning of Islamic art in the middle ages. The country's European influence began with the Russian occupation of the Azerbaijani khanates at the beginning of the 19th century. The Soviet era which proceeded it was a period of national self-discovery and saw the creation of the national symbols that can still be found in the country's art of the present day.