A notable exhibition, featuring edged weapons and firearms crafted primarily in Turkey, Iran and India from the 17th to the mid-19th century, opened at the Museum of Islamic Art.
The event, dubbed as ‘Powder and Damask: Islamic Arms and Armour from the Collection of Fadel al-Mansoori,’ will run until May 12, 2018. It has been curated by Dr Mounia Chekhab Abudaya and Julia Tugwell of MIA, with support from al-Mansoori.
“As my collection grew, I was drawn to the obvious interconnection between distant cultures evident through the similar style and taste of decoration used across Turkey, India and Iran around the same time period,” al-Mansoori said. “This aspect of art, its ability to transcend cultures, is something that should be treasured and celebrated, and I am proud and grateful to have the opportunity to display my collection at such a prestigious venue,” he added.
Al-Mansoori, who becomes the first Qatari collector to exhibit his private collection at MIA, was on hand to walk guests through artefacts that represent some of the best examples of craftsmanship from the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires. The objects displayed at MIA are excellent examples of the diverse styles and materials, such as ivory, horn, gold inlay, semi-precious stones and calligraphy, used to decorate weapons during this time period.
“We were honoured to be entrusted with the care of such an extensive and impressive collection of arms and armour artefacts,” Dr Abudaya said.
“As a curator, it’s also personally gratifying to see the amazing preservation and care al-Mansoori dedicated to his collection, which now translates to an outstanding experience for MIA visitors,” she noted.
The exhibition captures al-Mansoori’s passion for artefacts, which began six years ago and developed into an excellent collection of arms and armour exemplifying high craftsmanship. An avid believer in the careful preservation of history, the collector has given several lectures at MIA on Islamic weapons in general and on Damascus steel, as well as on his experience in restoration.
A range of educational programmes, workshops, activities and events will be organised alongside the exhibition.