Gifts of Sultan expo at MIAfrom March 21
DOHA A SECTION from an ornate façade of an 8th century palace gifted by an Ottoman king to a German emperor is among the pieces to feature at the new exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). The exhibition to be opened to the public on March 21, will conclude on June 2
Over 200 invaluable pieces, including the Rosette from the Mshatta Façade makes up the collection ‘Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts’. The exposition tells the history and etiquette of gift-giving in the Islamic civilization since the 8th century.
‘Gifts of the Sultan’ is a major international exhibition being presented by the MIA in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) with support of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The exhibition makes third stop in Doha after visiting Los Angeles and Houston.
Besides the treasures loaned from more than 30 major collections and museums around the world, 16 from MIA’s own collection are being shown for the first time.
An impressive selection of objects from The State Historical and Cultural Museum Preserve (The Kremlin), Moscow, and The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg are part of the exhibition. The show also includes a contemporary section by four artists from the Islamic world.
“This is a new of way of looking at gift-giving and gift-exchange,” expo curator Linda Komaroff said at a media preview of the show on Sunday. Komaroff, who served as Lacma’s curator of Islamic Art since 1995, said although the scale of giftgiving among diplomats has shrunk, gift-giving among royalties and diplomats in the earlier period connoted grandeur as the act somehow intends to ‘impress’.
‘Gifts of the Sultan’ is being organised under three broad sections: Personal Gifts, Pious Donations, and State and Diplomatic Gifts.
The Personal Gifts section includes objects of personal adornment such as jewels, belts and garments. A rare surviving piece from the Mughal dynasty, Flask for Rose Water (17th century), a three-dimensional map of the stars made by Muhammad ibn Hilal, and an archer’s ring worn on the thumb of the right hand to protect it, from Turkey (16th century) are part of this collection.
Pious Donations highlights gifts of a religious nature such as items gifted to a mosque or shrine. The Holy Qur’an Chest from Istanbul in mid-16th century, a 718.8 x 400 cm Ardabil Carpet, kashkul (beggars bowl) from Iran, which belonged to the head of a Sufi shrine and a wood cenotaph of Taj al Mulk wa’l-Din Abu’l-Qassim can be seen in this section.
The third and largest section State and Diplomatic Gifts features rock crystal pieces, courtly regalia, jewelencrusted horse trappings, palace façade or a tent documented in both written accounts and visual depictions.
A saddlecloth, 8th and 9th century chess and backgammon boards, a 17th century dagger and sheath from Iran, a prayer carpet, a mosque lamp, portraits of ambassadors are part of the collection.
“We are excited to be collaborating with Lacma on this very important exhibition which celebrates a universal value which was highly regarded in our history.
Through this exhibition we are looking to inspire and educate our community and we have developed an integrated education programme alongside the exhibition for children and adults,” MIA Deputy Director Aisha al Khater said on the occasion.
“We hope it will be the first of the many joint ventures between our institutions and further promote a dialogue between the east and the west,” Lacma CEO and Director Michael Govan added.
Admission tickets to the exhibition are QR25, students and children under 16 are admitted free of charge.