Speaking of authenticity and exoticism, visitors to the Nash collection in the Ahmanson Building can treat themselves to the sight of one of the world's greatest artifacts on the way downstairs. Called the "Aradibil Carpet," it was 16th-Century Persia during a great flowering of the textile and book arts under the reign of Shah Tahmasp I.
LACMA has owned it for years, but it is rarely displayed, partly because of its huge 23-by-13-foot dimensions. Brought out for just two weeks (to Nov. 23) to celebrate a conference of carpet scholars in San Francisco, it is installed at the bottom of the central atrium. It looks particularly splendid viewed over the balustrades of the upper floors.