Weekend Events: African Pearls, Another Inaugural Ball, and a String Quartet

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Friday, January 30: A Scattering of Pearls: Architecture of the Gold Road and the Mali-Spain Diaspora

After completing a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, Mansa Musa, emperor of Mali, returned with architect Al-Saheli. With Mansa's support, Al-Saheli constructed palaces and mosques—notably the Djingareyber Mosque which was constructed entirely of organic materials in 1327 and still stands—transforming Timbuktu into a renowned center of Islamic study. Historian Suzanne Preston Bier will offer her insights on this business relationship that resulted in stunning works of sub-Saharan architecture. Free. African Art Museum, 12 Noon.

Saturday, January 31: Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Ball

Show of hands: how many of you out there didn't have enough disposable income to attend one of those high-falootin' inaugural balls here in DC? Uh huh, thought so. However, Abraham Lincoln's opulent second inaugural ball is being dutifully recreated for you by the Victorian Dance Ensemble at the National Portrait Gallery. Free. National Portrait Gallery, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 4:00 PM.

Sunday, February 1: Axlerod Quartet

The Axlerod Quartet—Marc Destrubé and Marilyn McDonald (violins), James Dunham (viola) and Kenneth Slowik (violoncello)—has a string of lovely tunes to play for you this evening at the Renwick Gallery's Grand Salon. The evening's musical program is: Mozart's Quartet in B-flat Major; Mendelssohn's Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80; and Beethoven's Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74 ("The Harp"). Tickets are required. Rates are: $31 general admission; $25 Resident Associate Program Members; $21 senior Resident Associate Members. Tickets may be purchased online here. Renwick Gallery, 7:30 PM.*

*There will be a pre-concert lecture by Smithsonian Chamber Music Society director Kenneth Slowik beginning at 6:30 PM.

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