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Middle East Garden Traditions: Unity and Diversity Questions, Methods and Resources in a Multicultural Perspective

Garden and Landscape Symposium, Spring 2007

Cosponsored by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Dumbarton Oaks

This Symposium will discuss the long lasting history of interlinked garden traditions in the Middle East, since Roman times, and in the Islamic world up to the present. It will highlight cultural continuities, variations and differences between gardens from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indus plains.

A townsman robs a villager’s orchard (haft awrang fol.179b). At the Freer Gallery Washington DC.
A townsman robs a villager's orchard (haft awrang fol.179b). At the Freer Gallery Washington DC

Archaeologists and historians from the Mediterranean and Islamic worlds, Europe and the US, will bring together new sources for richly documented studies of gardens in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, the Ottoman world, Judea, Morocco and Moorish Spain. They will explore how conflicting influences operated, the form of cultural reception of gardens in religious and mystical societies, the political uses of gardens, and new directions of archaeological research. This conference will bring together new information and surprising results from the last fifteen years of research, at a remove from the clichés of Orientalism.

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