The Near Eastern Collection includes art objects from large areas of the Middle East, Ottoman Turkey, Central Asian Republics, Indian sub-continent, North Africa and Moorish Spain. It encompasses Pre-Roman, Roman, Greek, Islamic, Christian and Jewish civilizations. The objects in the collection display a wide range of media including metalwork, glass, ceramics, arms and armor, scientific instruments, carpets and textiles, carved and inlaid furniture, scientific and religious manuscripts, icons, and 19th century European Orientalist paintings.
The collection consists of more than 400 works of art, most donated to the Museum by Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma, between 1991 and 2004. The Toumas, originally from Syria, helped design the permanent gallery within the Museum, to place the objects within a cultural context. The marble floor and the crown molding have distinctive Near Eastern design, and the walls and the ceiling were hand carved and inlaid with mother-of-pearl by craftsmen in Damascus. The gallery, which was originally built and installed in 1996, offers visitors the opportunity to view a wide range of elegant and beautiful work produced by Near Eastern artisans from ancient times through the 20th century. The Touma’s goal in sharing their collection is to provide a bridge for people to learn about and appreciate unfamiliar histories, cultures, and traditions of their homeland, and to promote goodwill and peace in a time of upheaval. A portion of this collection traveled to 11 Museums throughout the U.S. in 1998-2000 in an exhibition titled Allure of the East.
Herbert Fitzpatrick, one of the Museum’s founders, donated 53 prayer rugs in 1952, along with his collections of British silver, European and American paintings, prints and drawings. Ranging in age from the late 18th to the early 20th century, the rugs include representations from the major rug weaving centers in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Caucasus and Turkoman regions of the Near East.
Candlestick, Egypt or Syria, Mamluk, about 1346 A.D. Brass. Overall: 9 13/16 x 8 7/8". Gift of Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma and family, 2000.10.66.
Bottle, Iran, Seljuk, about late 12th-early 13th century. Underglaze-painted fritware. Overall: 8 1/2 x 2 1/2". Gift of Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma, 2004.3.14.
Bowl, Nishapur, Iran, 10th-11th centuries. Underglaze-painted earthenware. Overall: 3 3/8 x 7 7/8". Gift of Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma and family, 2000.10.35.
Dish, Iznik, Turkey, Ottoman, about 1600. Underglaze-painted fritware. Overall: 2 1/4" x 11 7/8". Gift of Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma and family, 2000.10.17.
Spouted Bowl, Iran, late Timurid, late 15th century. Bronze. Overall: 4 1/4" x 11 1/4". Gift of Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma, 1991.2.2.
Lamp, Iran, Seljuk, 12th-13th centuries. Bronze. Overall: 5 1/4 x 5 3/8 x 2 5/8". Gift of Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma, 2004.3.27.
Qur'an Manuscript, Iran, 1218 A.H. (1803-1804 A.D.) Leather, paper. Overall: 6 5/8" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/4". Gift of Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma, 2004.3.4.
Preparing for Prayer, Filippo Bartolini (Italian, active 1861-1908), Italy, 19th century, about 1875. Watercolor on paper. Image: 14 x 21". Framed: 22 x 29 x 2". Gift of Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma, 1991.2.51.
Sofa, Damascus, Syria, 19th century, mid-19th century. Ebony, mother of pearl, silver, bone. Overall: 51 1/2 x 68 x 31". Gift of Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma, 1991.2.55.
Rug, Western Iran, 19th century. Wool and cotton. Overall: 86 x 52". Gift of Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma and family, 2000.10.96.
Mosque Lamp, Europe, probably France, 19th to 20th century. Glass, enamel. Overall: 17 1/2" x 13 1/4" x 14 1/2" x 9" rim diameter. Gift of Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma and Family, 1999.5.
Bottle, Mediterranean, Eastern, 4th century, late 3rd-4th century. Glass. Overall: 6 x 2 1/2" diameter. Canteen Flask, Mediterranean, Eastern, 3th century, 3rd-4th century glass. Overall: 3 3/4" x 2 7/8" x 7/8". Glass, Mediterranean, Eastern, 2nd to 3rd century glass. Overall: 6 1/4 x 3 3/4" diameter. Gifts of Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma and Family, 1991.2.95; 1991.2.103; 1991.2.108.
Astrolabe, Iran, 1130 A.H. (1717-1718 A.D.) Brass. Overall: 8 3/8 x 5 3/4 x 1 1/2". Gift of Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma and Family, 2000.10.91.