Cinematic Urbanism

Cinematic Urbanism: The Middle East Three new articles on cinema from the middle east.


Whether through hosting symposia or welcoming scholars to our library, archives, and collections, the Freer and Sackler Galleries maintain research as an integral part of their mission. To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the museums are presenting a series of major exhibitions and complementary programming in 2012, as well as new research initiatives.

Research Online is a component of the Freer|Sackler's digital publications. While we work on launching our first app and other digital projects, we present this online complement to Ars Orientalis 42, featuring three articles on cinema from the Middle East. We hope you enjoy them and revisit this site for future postings.

Research News

In Memoriam

The Freer|Sackler joins the scholarly community in mourning the recent passing of John Rosenfield (1924–2013) and James Cahill (1926–2014), two giants of Asian art history. Cahill and Rosenfield were the two most recent recipients of the Freer Medal, awarded by the Freer|Sackler for “distinguished contribution to knowledge and understanding of Oriental civilizations as reflected in their arts.” We remember their visits with us with great fondness and are grateful for their many contributions to scholarship, to the training of the next generations of scholars, and to the work of this museum.

Staff Publication

Temple Potters of Puri
by Louise Allison Cort, F|S Curator of Ceramics, and Purna Chandra Mishra

From 1979 to 1981, Louise Cort lived in the town of Puri, Orissa, in eastern India. While there, she observed a community of potters working for the Jagannatha Temple. This group is responsible for creating red earthenware pots used to cook the daily meals presented to the gods of the temple; each pot can be used only once. The potters enjoy special status as temple servants, and their community has a rich history. Cort's book Temple Potters of Puri, written with Purna Chandra Mishra, includes a DVD of the potters at work and celebrating their annual festival, Kurala Panchami.

Available at the Sackler Gallery shop or 202.633.0494

New Research Publication

The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court

In the Islamic world, books have been treasured for centuries as precious objects worthy of royal admiration. This was especially true in Muslim India, where generations of Mughal emperors commissioned and collected volumes of richly illuminated manuscripts and lavishly illustrated folios. Emperors Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan in particular became renowned as connoisseurs during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Today, those works remain a vibrant part of India’s cultural and artistic history, and the Freer and Sackler Galleries have the distinction of being one of the world’s leading repositories of Mughal art.

In this revised and expanded edition of his popular 1981 book, Dr. Milo Beach, teacher, scholar, and former museum director, presents a selection of the superb collection of Mughal painting in the Freer Gallery of Art and adds many of the outstanding works that entered the collection with the opening of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 1987.

232 pages, 258 color illustrations. Published by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and Mapin Publishing. Available for purchase at

Past Research Updates

2011 Summer Interns
Pulverer Interns
Symposium: Imperial Exposure: Early Photography and Royal Portraits across Asia