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Spring 2014


This Neatline project, “Boundaries,” provides artistic and historical information from four locations in the Mediterranean to demonstrate that political and religious boundaries, traditionally seen as rigid or definitive borders, are permeable membranes that involve overlapping and intertwined cultural histories.

Cultural Syncretism in Medieval Palermo: from Ibn Hawqal to Ibn Jubayr

Between the 9th and 12th centuries, medieval Palermo in Sicily was visited by two Muslim travelers, Ibn Ḥawqal and Ibn Jubayr, a little more than two hundred years apart. Their accounts sit on either side of a transition from Islamic to Norman rule, making them invaluable primary sources of the regional medieval Mediterranean experiences. This exhibit uses their writings to show the diversity and complex interrelations between multiple cultures that built Palermo's medieval identity.

Jeddah: Gateway to the Hajj

For hundreds of years, the city of Jeddah has served as the gateway to Mecca and an important transportation hub for Muslim pilgrims on Hajj. This exhibit charts how changing modes of travel both map onto Jeddah’s urban fabric and shape the pilgrim experience.

Perspectives on the Haram

Perspectives on the Haram aims to showcase the Haram Mosque and Mecca throughout time by drawing upon the accounts of different travelers spanning one thousand years. By focusing on these accounts we hope to not only showcase the ways in which the Haram changed over time, but also the parts of Mecca that travelers found most worthy of recording.

Trade Routes

This exhibition will take you through the different trade routes that existed during the 9th-12th centuries, showing you both the geographic extent of these trade routes and the specific goods that were traded. This era saw the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate and the Genoese traders, and the continuing importance of the Silk Road and Spice Route.