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How to Dive Deep into the Islamic World at the Museum of Islamic Art

Unlock the Treasures of Time

By Gabriel AnthonyPublished 7 months ago 4 min read
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Prof. Mortel, Exhibition hall in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, CC BY 2.0

Dive into the fascinating universe of Islamic culture and artistry at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. The Museum of Islamic Art houses a remarkable collection of artefacts spanning over 1,400 years, showcasing the rich heritage and creative brilliance of Islamic civilisations from around the world. Here's your essential guide with insider tips to navigate this world-class repository.

Intro

You've made an excellent choice deciding to visit the Museum of Islamic Art. Situated in Doha, Qatar, this museum is an architectural gem that houses a sweeping collection of artworks spanning 1,400 years and across three continents. From delicate textiles to intricate ceramics, the museum offers a treasure trove of Islamic culture and history.

Finding Your Way to the Museum

Getting to the museum is easy. If you are in Doha, just hail a cab, use a rideshare app, or walk if you are in the neighbourhood – for instance, if you are staying at Al Najada Doha Hotel Apartments By Oaks, you can get to the museum in five minutes by cab. Look for the unique building right on the Corniche, a popular waterfront promenade. The museum is an eye-catching design, so it’s hard to miss.

Navigating Doha is so much easier if you stay close to tourist highlights like the Museum of Islamic Art. You’ll find loads of short-stay apartments in Doha located within a short distance of the museum.

Navigating the Museum

Once you arrive, you will be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the museum. But don’t worry, navigating the museum is quite straightforward. The museum's five floors of exhibits are meticulously arranged for easy browsing. You'll find useful guidebooks and interactive maps, along with helpful staff who are always happy to help. And don’t forget to visit the restaurant and coffee shop on the top floor whenever you fancy a pit stop.

Mosque Lamp Made of Enamelled Glass

At the heart of the museum's collection is the Mosque Lamp made from enamelled glass that holds a special place. This intricate piece of Islamic art hails from the Mamluk period and bears eloquent testimony to the depth and breadth of Islamic craftsmanship. Its beauty lies in the delicate interplay of light and glass, the carefully crafted Arabic calligraphy against a backdrop of vibrant colours adding to its allure.

The Astrolabe

Your journey through the museum introduces you to the astrolabe, an astronomical instrument that the Islamic world historically used. This metallic piece, elegantly crafted and engraved with meticulous precision, signifies the profound astronomical knowledge held by Islamic scholars. It's a testament to the Islamic world's pioneering contributions to astronomy, combining scientific precision with unrivalled artistry.

The Quran

The museum's collection of Quranic manuscripts is a sight to behold. Each manuscript is a testament to the Quran's pivotal role in Islamic culture. The elegance of these Qurans lies in their perfect balance between the written word and decorative embellishment, which creates a captivating visual harmony.

The Tulunid Wooden Panel

Discover the intricately carved Tulunid Wooden Panel, a surviving gem from the 9th century. This artefact offers insights into the geometric artistry that characterised Islamic woodwork during the Tulunid era. The nuanced precision and symmetry etched into this panel reflect the craftmanship's subtlety, which makes it a sight for lovers of architectural aesthetics.

The Ewer of Marwan

The Ewer of Marwan, an exemplar of Umayyad craftsmanship, is truly a sight to behold. This magnificent piece, adorned with intricate detailing and proportioned to perfection, exemplifies the refined art of Islamic metalworking. The lustre of the ewer, even after centuries, is a vivid reminder of the artistic excellence that defined the Umayyad period.

The Fatimid Ceramic Dishes

As you navigate your way through the museum, the sight of Fatimid ceramic dishes will demand your attention. The flamboyance of their colours, combined with the minute attention to design detail, underscores the mastery of Fatimid potters. The exceptional lustre and intricate motifs on these ceramics highlight the significant contributions of the Fatimid era to the world of pottery.

The Mamluk Blazons

The Mamluk Blazons, representing heraldic emblems, give you a glimpse into the socio-political culture of the Mamluk sultanate. The emblems, skillfully rendered on various media like textiles and architectural elements, are significant symbols of power and prestige. They provide intriguing insights into the hierarchical structure and political nuances of the Mamluk period.

The Mamluk Copper Table

Among the museum's captivating exhibits, the Mamluk Copper Table stands out for its intricate designs. This piece showcases the advanced metalworking skills of Mamluk craftsmen, reflected in the geometrical designs and Arabic inscriptions adorning its surface. The table serves as a testament to the aesthetic sensibilities and technical mastery of the Mamluk era.

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