Jun 26, 2009

Aga Khan Collection presents Islamic art from Andalus to India

Madrid is hosting an exhibition "The Islamic Worlds in the Aga Khan Museum Collection" which shows some of the greatest treasures of Islamic art.
Thursday, 25 June 2009 11:50

World Bulletin / News Desk
Madrid is currently hosting the exhibition "The Islamic Worlds in the Aga Khan Museum Collection" which shows some of the greatest treasures of Islamic art, from ancient al-Andalus to India.

The exhibition, available until September 6, 2009, will travel several other cities such as Barcelona, Onculture.eu said.

The art, the history, the traditions and the geographies of the Islamic world from the Far East to the Iberian Peninsula are the subjects of the exhibition The Worlds of Islam in the Aga Khan Museum Collection.

The event is organised by "la Caixa" Social and Cultural Outreach Projects in cooperation with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture –the cultural arm of the Aga Khan Development Network and hosted at the CaixaForum Madrid.

Aga Khan shows 190 art objects spanning 1400 years of history and summarizing, in wood, stone, gold, bronze, ivory, glass, ceramic, fabric, parchment and paper, the finest artistic accomplishments of a world that stretched from ancient al-Andalus to India, Artdaily.org said.

The exhibition sets out to question current commonplaces about the polarity between East and West and reconcile points of view about Islamic culture. Through works of art of different periods and geographical origins across world, the exhibition reflects the splendour of Muslim culture in its full diversity, bringing out the pluralism of Islam, both in interpretations of the Koranic faith and the variety of styles, materials and techniques involved in the creation of these works.

Among the outstanding works on show is a rich group of manuscripts and miniatures with figurative representations, which are among the finest productions not only of the Islamic sphere, but of universal art. They help refute the widespread commonplace of the prohibition of images in Islamic art, since although Islam does not use animal or human motifs in buildings or objects related to religion, in the official or private civil sphere there have been representations of living beings, often profuse. It was merely a matter of aesthetic preferences and historical moments.

These provide an overview of the Islamic world's finest artistic achievements in wood, stone, gold, bronze, ivory, ceramics and textiles, and on parchment and paper. The different Islamic dynasties can be seen, identifying the territories over which each dynasty ruled following the Abbasid caliphate at the end of the 9th century. The Umayyads held sway over al-Andalus, the Fatimids and the Mamelukes reigned in Egypt, the Ottomans in Turkey, and the Safavids in Iran and the Mughals in India.

The essential characteristics of Islamic courtly culture can be seen in generic portraits of respective sovereigns in profile. The works of art on display also emphasize the high cultural level of the Islamic courts responsible for spreading knowledge of Ancient Greece to the west via translations in Arabic.

The exhibits are divided into three large sections. The central section is devoted to The Qur'anic Faith while the other two guide viewers through various Islamic courts using as a metaphor a journey in two stages –From Cordoba to Damascus and From Baghdad to Delhi.


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