Preparations are almost complete for the ‘Syria Matters’ exhibition, organised by the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha as part of its 10-year anniversary celebrations.
The exhibition, a first of its kind in the region, is due to open to the public on November 22, it was announced on Thursday.
Co-curated by Dr Julia Gonnella, director of MIA and Rania Abdellatif, the exhibition features more than 100 iconic pieces including Syrian pre-Islamic artefacts, Orientalist paintings and photographs, as well as precious works of Islamic art from Syria’s rich history: early Qur’ans, medieval manuscripts, glass, ceramics, textiles and colourful tiles.
It will also show newly conserved elements of a former wooden interior decoration from a private Damascus house.
Some of these pieces are important loans from the various Qatar Museums collections, notably the Orientalist Museum, as well from the Qatar National Library, the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Museum and other private collections.
They are presently being installed at the museum.
They are complemented by rare treasures from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the Louvre in Paris, Berlin’s Museum of Ancient Near Eastern Art the Berlin State Library, the British Library and the Türk ve Eserleri Müzesi in Istanbul.
As part of QM’s pledge to safeguard Syria’s unique cultural legacy, visitors will be able to encounter some of Syria’s most iconic World Heritage sites, such as Damascus but also Palmyra and the citadel of Aleppo, which has seen so much suffering during the war, in a specially designed immersive film experience by the French company Iconem.
Some of the most important pieces on display include:
n A bird of prey, sculpted in basalt, from the archaeological site of Tell Halaf in Northern Syria, dating from the early 9th century BCE (Museum of Ancient Near Eastern Art, Berlin)
n A Palmyra relief with a camel, dating from the first half of 3rd century CE (Collection of Sheikh Saoud bin Muhammad Foundation)
n Paintings from QM’s Orientalist Collection including “The Great Caravan at Palmyra” circa 1785, Louis-François Cassas (1756-1827) and “Damascus”, circa 1860 by Edward Lear (1812-1888)
n The so-called Cavour Vase, which is the most spectacular example of a very small group of richly decorated cobalt blue and purple enameled and gilded glass vessels made in Syria or Egypt in the late 13th century CE (MIA Collection)
n A precious gilded blue flask made in the mid-12th century CE in or near what is today the Syrian city of Raqqa, situated on the Euphrates in the north-east of the country (MIA Collection).
Syria Matters Installations in progress
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