Of Heaven and Earth

Rituals, ceremonies and religious customs around the world

Calouste S. Gulbenkian is arguably set apart from other early twentieth-century collectors – who adopted an encyclopaedic eclecticism in their desire to embrace all eras and artistic categories – by his attention, equal to that which he devoted to European art movements, to arts produced in the Islamic world, principally Ottoman Turkey and the Middle East. The visitor, moving through the museum that houses his collection, senses an essence of equality in the importance given to the different cultures and religions represented. It was on this basis that we devised an itinerary – on display from 21 March – leading us through the galleries of the Founder’s Collection to find the objects that speak to us of rituals, ceremonies and religious customs associated with different communities from different cultures and geographies, spanning an impressive timeline, stretching from pharaonic Egypt to late nineteenth-century Brittany.