Support Us Button Widget
Sponsored Content

Try This: “Reverent Ornament: Art from the Islamic World”

We checked out the Columbia Museum of Art’s new exhibition, on view through May 14, 2023.

Sponsored by
An eight-point, star-shaped tile from Iran

The Persian word for “tile,” like the eight-point one from the 14th century seen here, is “kashi.”

Photo by the COLAtoday team

Table of Contents

The Columbia Museum of Art’s new exhibition “Reverent Ornament: Art from the Islamic World” opened on February 18, and we were thrilled to get to check it out. This collection offers 45 works that explore centuries-old arts and crafts traditions and scientific innovations from Iran, Egypt, India, Syria, and Turkey, featuring objects that could be found anywhere from ordinary homes to palaces. We were transported, and we highly recommend experiencing it for yourself.

What we tried:

We attended the exhibition’s opening day festivities, which included a CMA members drop-in as well as dance and musical performances. (Read: CMA membership comes with big perks.) “Reverent Ornament” is currently on view alongside the exhibition “Our Own Work, Our Own Way: Ascendant Women Artists in the Johnson Collection,” and includes glassware, ceramics, metalwork, painting, weaponry, weaving, and more. Think: timeless Islamic art that celebrates everyday life, history, and culture.

What not to miss:

We found ourselves mesmerized not just by the ornate objects on display, but also the explanations behind what they were used for. The astrolabe, for example, is a tool that is essentially a flattened, portable globe meant to help determine the current time as well as the time of the sunrise and sunset. The technology needed to create this device was rediscovered by Muslim scholars in the 8th and 9th centuries by translating Greek texts.

Objects from 18th-century Iran

The astrolabe, seen left, dates back to Iran in the 1700s.

Photo by the COLAtoday team

What we’re still talking about:

We loved the diversity of the pieces on display. From weapons to intricate tiles, prayer rugs to a 19th-century hookah, the respect and reverence for each piece was evident, whether it would have been found in a place of worship or someone’s kitchen.

How you can experience this:

“Reverent Ornament: Art from the Islamic World” will be on view through Sunday, May 14. The exhibition is free to explore with the price of admission or museum membership.


The objects included in the exhibition evoke a rich vision of daily life for those who created and used them.

Photo by the COLAtoday team

Things to know if you go:

More from COLAtoday
The CB90 rental properties and The Hangar Lofts offer uniquely Columbia options for short term rentals and are ideal for Gamecock weekends.
Made with Cola Love’s latest activation features PSYCHii, a creative agency, offering marketing and production workshops at 2222 Sumter St.
Cola is well represented on the world stage at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics — these are some locals to watch.
Godspeed, a new specialty coffee pop-up by Roger Caughman and Kailey Cunningham, focuses on building community connections with each pop-up.
We’ve got details and a map full of drink deals: We’ll be highlighting the vibrant beverage scene across Columbia, SC from July 22 to July 26, 2024.
The yearly fundraising event, hosted by the West Columbia Beautification Foundation, raises money for local beautification projects, including ongoing development for Highway No. 1.
The Five after Five outdoor concert series
Chef Alex Strickland of The Dragon Room, also the lead singer of metal band Abacus, discusses his favorite dishes, local foodie spots, and balancing his culinary and musical creativity.
Entrepreneurs come from everywhere, including The Midlands. Read about three products that have been featured or inspired by the show “Shark Tank.”
Looking for a night out and an evening full of local music with friends and family? Head to Jammin’ in July this weekend.