By Mudassir Raja
The exquisitely beautiful jewellery designs and precious gems and pearls continue to fascinate and attract visitors at the ongoing Set in Stones: Gems and Jewels From Royal Indian Courts exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA).
The members of Spouses of Heads of Mission (SOHOM) recently visited the exhibition – that will continue till January 18, 2020 – and appreciated the classical and traditional jewellery designs and the royal fashion tastes.
In connection with the 2019 Year of Culture Qatar-India, MIA is presenting the exhibition on magnificent gems and jewellery from India. The ‘Set in Stone: Gems and Jewels from Royal Indian Courts’ exhibition showcases more than 100 spectacular pieces from across Qatar Museums’ collection, including many masterpieces that have never been displayed before. Drawing from MIA’s permanent collection, the National Museum of Qatar, and Qatar Museum’s Orientalist Collection, the exhibition brings together a splendid array of jewellery, jewelled objects, works on paper, and photography, including highlights such as MIA’s famous gold and gem-set falcon and the brilliant diamond necklace from Varanasi, India.
The exhibition’s journey begins with ancient mines and ends with contemporary Qatari jewellery. Starting with ‘Precious Stones’, the visitor discovers the cultural and economic significance of stones in India before then experiencing the rich role gems play within the ‘Court and Ceremony’ of the Mughal Empire. The third section, ‘Beyond the Court’ shows the personal, private and devotional function of jewellery, highlighting the amazing diversity of craftsmanship across India. Lastly, ‘Qatar Connection: Pearls for Gold’ illustrates the longstanding cultural and commercial ties between Qatar and India, as seen through jewellery.
‘Set in Stone’ is curated by Dr. Tara Desjardins, with the support of Nicoletta Fazio, Reem Aboughazala, Tamadur Tariq al-Shamlan.
While sharing her experience with Community after going through the exhibition, Lilian Muzel, wife of German Ambassador to Qatar Hans-Udo Muzel, said: “Today the SOHOM members visited the extraordinary exhibition in the amazing MIA as part of the Qatar-India Year of Culture. Our expert guide Rohda Mohammed [head of museum guide] explained every aspect of the exhibition to us in an interesting way. The guide amongst others also elucidated upon the cultural and economic importance of jewellery in India and the long trade exchange of pearls and gold between Qatar and India.
“One of the many highlights was the stunning necklace from Varanasi, created with diamonds, gold, emeralds and crowned by baroque pearls. Further, the gorgeous jewelled falcon and other impressive objects which showed us the craftsmanship and wealth of the Mughal Court. It was a wonderful exhibition about India’s riche heritage with a visible link to Qatar through the beautiful pearls. It is yet another amazing showcase curated by the fantastic team of MIA and Qatar Museums.”
Shemain Thakur, wife of Belgian ambassador, said: “A rare collection of original royal jewels set in uncut diamonds, rubies and emeralds delicately set . The Qatari wedding jewellry inspired by Indian jewels was also spectacular.
Judit Sari, wife of the ambassador of Hungary, said: “This exhibition presents a huge variety of magnificent objects and ornaments used by the elite in India. I was amazed by the fascinating collection of the noble treasures. Many thanks to the MIA staff for the excellent guide, providing a thoroughly explanation of the glorious items and we are all looking forward to the future exhibitions in MIA.
Lika Giorgadze, wife of the Georgian ambassador, said: “The SOHOM members were kindly invited for a special guided tour through the dazzling collection where more than 100 magnificent pieces of gemstones are displayed.
“The exhibition is extraordinary. It is divided into few sections highlighting the cultural, economic and historical importance of gemstones in India, its religious and social importance under the Mughals and their lavish displays of wealth as well as its’ connection and impact on Qatari jewellery.”
She added, “It is a collection of precious stones. Breathtaking diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds and pearls are all blended in to one mesmerising masterpiece. Interestingly, most of them have associations with health, religion, fortune, source of protection from bed luck, etc. “Overall, it is wonderful, luxurious and unique exhibition with historical and cultural highlights throughout; absolutely must see collection in beautiful environment.”
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