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Gardens of Eternal Bliss: Islamic Garden Carpets and Metaphors for Heaven and Earth
with Prof. Walter Denny


Gardens of Eternal Bliss: Islamic Garden Carpets and Metaphors for Heaven and Earth
with Prof. Walter Denny

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020, 2 pm EDT
Price: Free In-Person and Online Event (In-person tickets are SOLD OUT)

Register to participate via Zoom

The promise of eternal paradise has inspired the creation of many of the Islamic art world’s most historic and unforgettable masterpieces. Among these are the famous garden carpets from Iran woven in the 15th through the 18th centuries.


In this interactive talk for the Aga Khan Museum, renowned art historian Prof. Walter Denny will examine the importance of gardens and garden carpets in Islamic art, showcasing some of the most spectacular works of the tradition. Using eye-catching visuals to guide his points, Prof. Denny will take time to let the carpets “speak for themselves,” through their lavish imagery and through the poetic passages threaded into a few notable examples.




Prof. Denny was originally slated to deliver his Toronto talk earlier this summer in celebration of the Museum residency of the Wagner Garden Carpet, on loan from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland. However, because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the event not only had to be rescheduled but also reimagined to reflect our current global reality.  


Having Prof. Denny present his talk virtually will make it accessible to art lovers around the world. In addition, we will host a viewing party in the Museum’s Auditorium, allowing those in attendance to see the carpets gloriously projected onto the big screen. Once the talk is over, attendees can put their learnings to good use as they gaze upon the resplendent beauty of the Wagner Garden Carpet, currently on display in the Museum’s Collections Gallery.




To tune in virtually: Go here to register to participate online via Zoom. 


To attend in person: Please reserve your viewing party ticket by clicking here or on the ticketing link at the top of this page. Because of physical-distancing requirements, only 50 spaces will be available. Registration is free with Museum admission.




Walter B. Denny has taught art history at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst since 1970, where he is now a Distinguished Professor. His primary field of teaching and research is the art and architecture of the Islamic world, in particular the artistic traditions of the Ottoman Turks, Islamic carpets and textiles, and issues of economics and patronage in Islamic art. He has held curatorial positions at the Harvard University Art Museums, the Smith College Museum of Art, and The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.


Paradise Garden: The Wagner Garden Carpet from the Burrell Collection, Glasgow

Residency extended!


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