Treasury Of The World

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The Mughals, the Muslim rulers of India from 1526 to 1858, were the Taliban's basic nightmare. They loved jewelry and ornamentation of all kinds, gleefully adapted local and European techniques and had a high threshold for excess. This eye-popping exhibition includes all one can imagine making with precious stones (dagger handles, walking sticks and fly whisks) and lots of things one cannot (a back scratcher, a pedestal for a huqqa--hookah, to some--and a conch-shell holder). The show, organized by the Kuwait National Museum and the Met, will also bedazzle London; Cleveland, Ohio; and Houston. Be warned: your preconceptions about a joyless Islam may be shattered by the inscribed royal spinel (all 249.3 carats of it) alone.