beirut

Mohamad-Said Baalbaki, The von Königswald Collection (detail), 2010, fifteen objects in display case; silver, terra-cotta, porcelain, bronze, ceramic, dimensions variable.

Mohamad-Said Baalbaki

Maqam Art Gallery

Mohamad-Said Baalbaki, The von Königswald Collection (detail), 2010, fifteen objects in display case; silver, terra-cotta, porcelain, bronze, ceramic, dimensions variable.

Mohamad-Said Baalbaki’s recent exhibition “Al-Buraq” was filled with elegant glass-fronted display cases made of dark wood and deep red velvet, light cascading into them through intricate cutouts in a pattern of eight-pointed stars. Each case was a cabinet of curiosities, filled with old books, maps, letters, sketchbooks, vintage photographs, miniature paintings, and plaster casts, some of them gilded, of mysterious bone fragments.

One case held a gorgeous collection of what were said to be ancient artifacts: a tiny Etruscan funerary vase adorned with a representation of Pegasus from around 300 BC; a small bronze griffin, discovered in Afghanistan, and dating back to the Sassanid Empire; a terra-cotta sphinx, nearly three thousand years old, from South Lebanon; another sphinx, this one with wings, adorning a delicate silver comb discovered on the island of Crete; and a sixteenth-century

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