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The Damascus Room is part of the exhibition (Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Damascus Room is part of the exhibition "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia," a suite of 15 reinstalled galleries that opened Nov. 1, 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The room, circa 1707 from Damascus, Syria, is made of cypress, poplar and mulberry woods with gesso relief, gold and tin leaf, glazes and paint; mother-of-pearl, marble and other stones, stucco with glass, plaster ceramic tiles, iron, brass, according to museum officials.

New Islamic galleries at the Met

Just the painting of a giant fruit bat with devil ears would be worth a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pteropus giganteus was painted in the late 18th century for a British couple in Calcutta. Tucked into a corner, the creature could easily be overlooked in the stunning display of Islamic Art that has just reopened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art after eight years of painstaking preparation. Much expanded and now called the "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia," they fill copious rooms on the second floor. We follow the armies of Allah as they fanned out after the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D. from the Arabian Peninsula to Spain, the Middle East, Persia, southern India and other parts of Asia.

The
(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The "Great Indian Fruit Bat," painted in the late 18th century for a British couple in Calcutta enthralled by the exotic wildlife of India, is on display in the "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Folio from the Shahnama (Book of Kings), 1330s,
(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Folio from the Shahnama (Book of Kings), 1330s, "The Funeral of Isfandiyar," is from Iran, part of the Islamic galleries exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

"Study of a Nilgai (Blue Bull)" (1620), a leaf from the Emperor's Album, is part of the exhibition "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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A 10th century or early 11th century panel
(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

A 10th century or early 11th century panel is part of the exhibition "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A Folio from the Blue Qur'an, from the
(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art )

A Folio from the Blue Qur'an, from the 9th to 10th century Tunisia, gold and silver on indigo-dyed parchment, is part of the exhibition "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Damascus Room is part of the exhibition
(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Damascus Room is part of the exhibition "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia," a suite of 15 reinstalled galleries that opened Nov. 1, 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The room, circa 1707 from Damascus, Syria, is made of cypress, poplar and mulberry woods with gesso relief, gold and tin leaf, glazes and paint; mother-of-pearl, marble and other stones, stucco with glass, plaster ceramic tiles, iron, brass, according to museum officials.

(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

"The Lovers" by Riza-yi Abbasi can be seen in the exhibition "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A 19th or early 20th century headdress from
(Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

A 19th or early 20th century headdress from Central Asia is part of the exhibition "Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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