The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston unveiled more than 10 centuries of Islamic art Saturday, starting a year-long exhibition highlighting work housed at the renowned Kuwaiti museum Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah (DAI). The MFAH will be the exclusive American partner for the display of the many treasures from the al-Sabah collection.
The Al-Sabah collection is one of the greatest private collection of Islamic art in the world and includes 30,000 pieces, including what is internationally recognized as being the world's greatest holding of Mughal jewelry. the collection is currently on permanent loan to the State of Kuwait.
It took curators six months to bring the exhibit to Houston. Plans are underway to potentially launch exhibitions in Italy, Finland, South Korea and Singapore, where there are few Islamic art collections available to the public.
Planning the exhibit was a challenge. Thanks to the massive geographic size of the Muslim world â which, at its height, maintained an influence that stretched from Spain to China â Islam has evolved as a particularly inclusive culture, incorporating countless artistic influences through the centuries.
"We've selected items to give people a broad overview of Islamic art," explains curator Giovanni Curatola, a scholar at the University of Udine who assisted in creating the MFAH show. "The artwork is so incredibly varied that we've decided to concentrate on showing a range of periods and materials: stone, glass, metal, wood, ivory and jewelry."
Tyler Rudick, "Islamic treasures unveiled at MFAH: Much-anticipated exhibit goes back 11 centuries" Culture Map January 26, 2013
Sherouq Sadeqi and Heather Yamour, "Treasures from Kuwait''s famed al-Sabah Collection debut in Houston, Texas - Arts & Culture"
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today