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Julian Raby

Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art


Julian Raby received his PhD in oriental studies from the University of Oxford (1981). At Oxford, he served as a university lecturer in Islamic art and architecture (1979–2006), chair of the curators of the Oriental Institute (1991–93, 1995–2000), and chair of the Board of the Faculty of Oriental Studies (1993–95), and founded and edited the series Oxford Studies in Islamic Art. He was appointed director of the Freer|Sackler in March 2002 and has since supervised more than 40 special exhibitions, including Return of the Buddha: The Qingzhou Discoveries (2004), Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey (2005), In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000 (2006), Hokusai (2006), Garden and Cosmos (2008), Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in the Moscow Kremlin (2009), and Falnama: The Book of Omens (2009). Julian has served as curator, concept designer, and consultant for numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including the landmark Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey at the Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul (1989) and Portraits of the Sultan: Picturing the House of Osman at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul (2000). He is the author of numerous papers, articles, and books in the field of Islamic art, including Venice, Dürer and the Oriental Mode (1982), Turkish Bookbinding in the 15th Century, The Foundation of a Court Style (1993) and Qajar Portraits (1999).


As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.