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Chester Beatty’s A to Z: from Amulet to Zodiac

Chester Beatty’s A to Z: from Amulet to Zodiac

Opening Date: 11 July 2014
Closing Date: 1 February 2015

Location: Chester Beatty Library

With Chester Beatty’s A to Z, the alphabet provides a simple framework to showcase a variety of objects from across the collections. Each letter of the alphabet is matched to a word that is representative of something characteristically associated with the Chester Beatty Library. Featuring many works seldom seen in public, the selection explores the threads that link cultures across the Western, Islamic and East Asian worlds: and several words present an opportunity to compare similar objects from different cultures. This is exemplified by A is for Amulet: the range of Christian, Hebrew, Hindu and Islamic amulets in the collection attests to the communality of these protective charms. Similarly, C for Calligraphy, H for hours and I for Illumination evoke the glorious examples of writing and decoration across the European, Islamic and East Asian traditions. The 15th-century Coëtivy Hours, the leaves from a 14th-century Qur’an, and the Japanese 16th- and 17th-century scrolls and picture books included in the following pages further serve as reminders of Beatty’s resolve to seek out quality and rarity in all his acquisitions.

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