A new edition of the critically acclaimed Pearls: Treasures from the Seas and the Rivers exhibition opened on Tuesday in Moscow as part of the Qatar Russia 2018 Year of Culture, Qatar Museums (QM) has said.
The opening was attended by the QM CEO and special adviser to QM chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Mansoor bin Ebrahim al-Mahmoud; and Qatar's ambassador to Russia Fahad bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, among other VIPs.
The exhibition, being hosted by the World Diamond Museum at the Exhibition Centre of the State Historical Museum in Moscow until October 1, displays 50 pieces of jewellery and other examples of pearl craftsmanship made from freshwater pearls born in Central Asia.
The exhibition showcases some of the most beautiful pieces of pearl jewellery and rare natural pearls from QM’s collection.
Some 20 new and never-before-shown artefacts specially selected for the exhibition in Russia are also on display, giving people a rare opportunity to see some of the most beautiful pieces of pearl jewellery and rare natural pearls from QM’s collection.
“This diverse exhibition will answer many of the questions surrounding these natural wonders, while taking visitors on a fascinating journey through the history of pearl diving and trade in Qatar,” the exhibition’s curator, Dr Hubert Bari, said.
The exhibition begins with an insight into the natural history of pearls and their formation, shedding light on many unknown facts that will amaze visitors and dispel common myths, like the fact that pearls are formed around a grain of sand.
Visitors also have the opportunity to learn about the different kind of pearls created by shell fish from around the world, with a unique display of natural pearls, which includes rarities such as pearls from the American rivers.
The exhibition continues by telling a story of pearl fishing in Qatar, drawing a parallel between the history of pearl industry in Russia and in the country.
Senior officials and dignitaries at the VIP opening.
Jewellery and handcraft masterpieces of different countries and epochs - from an intricately cut figurine of the 17th century to a modern composition called 'Frozen' by a Vietnamese master, Sam Tho Duong – are also featured in the exhibition.
Among other masterpiece objects on show at the State Historical Museum visitors will admire include jewellery pieces by Cartier, pearl earrings by Bvlgari worn by Elizabeth Taylor, a broch designed by the sketch of Salvador Dali, a spectacular tiara of Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria and treasures from other European monarchies.
The exhibition also shows pearl jewellery of various ethnicities and tribes, such as head decorations and earrings from Tibet and pearl artefacts from Russia and Central Asia.
The show, which is considered one of QM’s flagship initiatives and is the first travelling exhibition organised by the institution, was designed to introduce audiences to the history and transformative impact that the pearl industry had on Qatar and the world.
QM said the exhibition reflects Qatar’s great curiosity for its own past and for rediscovering its heritage, often from a culture of oral history. It chronicles pearl fishing in Qatar, providing an insight into the ancient methods and techniques used by pearl divers and an overview of the pearl trade in the Gulf.
Russia and Qatar both share strong historical ties to pearls. In Russia, pearl usage in jewellery and textiles was omnipresent, stretching back to Byzantine traditions.
Pearls used in Russia where not cultivated from sea oysters, however, but from mussels living in almost all rivers and lakes across the empire. They were sewn onto beautiful textiles, kokoshniks, jewellery and adorned everyday objects like horse saddles.
QM noted that this is the sixth time that such exhibition travelled around the world, with the last show taking place in China as part of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture.
“Pearls have long inspired artists and painters with their quiet elegance and mystery,” Dr Bari said. “The exhibition is a major highlight of the Qatar Russia 2018 Year of Culture, which will see two great cultures explore unexpected historical parallels through the use of pearls in traditional design and jewellery making.”
“We hope that this is something that will help bring our people and countries ever closer together,” he added.
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