Perhaps first among the Philadelphia Museum of Art's many distinctions is the extent to which historic architecture is integrated into its galleries—vestiges, together with period rooms, of director Fiske Kimball's transformation of the institution from a museum of craft to one of contextualized material culture.1 Nowhere is this legacy more evident today than along the approach to the museum's South Asian collection, via the south wing's central galleries, through a series of medieval European architectural ensembles. The eastward turn to the wing's outer arm corresponds to an analogous cultural shift. The view along this axis reveals, in nested succession, a barrel-vaulted Sassanian portal, an archway flanked by...

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