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Thursday

In the 10th century, Islamic metalworkers developed a technique to “paint” brass and bronze objects with silver, gold, and copper inlay. Many of the resulting designs incorporated astrological symbols. Astrology and astronomy captivated Islamic thought, particularly in the case of the Sufis, Islamic mystics who subscribed to the notion of wahat al-wujud, or the Oneness of Being. Sufi poets, such as the great Jalaluddin Rumi, looked to the skies for metaphor: “You are the orb of the Sun,/and the house of Venus,/You are the light of hope/that touches the world.” In conjunction with the exhibition “Fountains of Light: Islamic Metalwork from the Nuhad Es-Said Collection” at the Sackler Gallery, James Allan, author of the exhibition catalog, will deliver his lecture “Sultans, Sufis, and the Stars: Inlaid Metalwork from the Nuhad Es-Said Collection.” At 7 p.m. at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 357-4880. (Pamela Murray Winters)