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Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 15:39 UK

BBC World News America has been behind the scenes at the Smithsonian, just days before the opening of its newest exhibition Falnama: The Book of Omens.

The Falnama manuscripts were created in Iran and Turkey during the 16th and 17th centuries. In the Islamic calendar, the year 1000 was looming on the horizon and sultans, shahs and common people used these manuscripts to explore the unknown.

Curator Massumeh Farhad introduces the Falnama and explains their relevance

The exhibition opens its doors on October 24 at the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC and is the first ever devoted to these illustrated texts, notable for their scale and bold compositions.

BBC World News America followed the curator, conservators and designers in their final days before the opening.

Works from the Topkapi Palace Library in Istanbul, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, the Louvre Museum in Paris and private collections from around the world feature in the exhibition.

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