Leoni is a specialist in Islamic manuscripts. She received her doctorate from Princeton University and during the past 10 years has held research and curatorial posts at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Huston’s Rice University and Museum of Fine Arts. She has worked at the Ashmolean since 2011.
The headline talk will take place on Friday, September 16 and will offer a preview of the museum’s upcoming exhibition Power and Protection: Islamic Art and the Supernatural, taking place from October 20, 2016 to January 15, 2017. Like the exhibition, the talk will cover the divinatory arts practised in medieval and early Muslim societies.
“We feel privileged to collaborate with our cultural partner, the Ashmolean Museum in bringing the accomplished scholar Francesca Leoni to share her research on this fascinating subject,” said LAPADA fair director Mieka Sywak.
This is the second consecutive year LAPADA has partnered with the Ashmolean, the oldest public museum in Britain, for their annual fair.
Divination was a legal practice in early Muslim society and incorporated methods such as dream interpretation, astrology, geomancy and amulet making.
Among the objects that will illustrate the practices are an amulet in the shape of the “hand of Fatima,” a gold enamelled set made for the second shah of Persia Fath‘Ali Shah Qajar and an 18th century astrolabe.