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Empire of the Sultans: Ottoman Art from the Khalili Collection

The Ottomans conquered Constantinople a generation before Columbus set sail for the New World. Until 1923, they ruled a vast empire straddling three continents, from modern-day Turkey and the Near East, crossing Egypt and Africa, and extending into Europe. As befitting the world's most powerful ruler, the Ottoman sultan presided over a court of unrivaled opulence, elegance and sophistication.

But we're the head honchos now, and we've got their cultural artifacts.

Through July 28, the North Carolina Museum of Art is presenting over 200 objects, including illuminated manuscripts, ceramics, treasury objects, rugs and armor from the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, one of the largest collections of its kind. Empire of the Sultans demonstrates the central role of imperial patronage in the Ottoman court, and unveils the originality and resilience of Ottoman artistic expression in religious, military, administrative and daily life. Come see the show and imagine what a future exhibition of work from the fallen American empire will one day look like. Richard Keene, anyone? Admission is $7.50 for individuals and $5.50 for seniors and students. Call 715-5923 for details.

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