Henning Larsen Reveals Designs for New Mosque in Copenhagen

Copenhagen mosque

Danish studio Henning Larsen Architects has unveiled plans for a new mosque and Islamic community centre in Denmark’s capital city. The Islamic Community Centre and Mosque by Henning Larsen Architects will  be built in Dortheavej, an area in northern Copenhagen. The 2,890-square-metre building, which will feature a series of interlocking domes, was commissioned by The Islamic Society of Denmark. “The new community centre and mosque at Dortheavej is a modern, Nordic interpretation of Islamic architecture, and brings this meeting of Nordic and Islamic building traditions to Denmark for the first time,” said the architects.

Read More: Henning Larsen Reveals Designs for New Mosque in Copenhagen

Art in Dubai

Art Dubai 2015

The ninth edition of Art Dubai held from March 17-21, 2015 was both different than and similar to other such events held there in the past. Although the recent Art Fair, like last year, was split into sections of Modern and Contemporary (a divide that needs to be defined objectively and rationally), the presence of Pakistani artists was strongly felt this time. To start with, a Pakistani gallery (Canvas Gallery from Karachi) for the first time participated in Art Dubai’s Contemporary section. Another gallery, Art Chowk like last year had a booth in the Modern section, showcasing works of Shahid Sajjad. Besides these, a number of galleries from South Asia, Middle East, Far East, Europe and USA participated with several Pakistani artists displaying in their spaces.

Read More: Art in Dubai

Barah Khamba Tomb Restored for Visitors

Bara Khamba

After a year-long restoration work, the Barah Khamba Tomb in the Nizamuddin heritage area was thrown open to tourists on Saturday. Aga Khan Trust for Culture, in partnership with Archaeological Survey of India, carried out the restoration work. DDA’s Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation co-funded the project. The 16th century Lodhi monument was inaugurated by DDA vice-chairman Balvinder Kumar. “The monument is one of its kind. The restoration work started in May last year. DDA has so far undertaken five such projects with Aha Khan Trust for Culture and we are planning similar projects for the conservation and restoration of the area,” Kumar said.

Read More: Barah Khamba Tomb Restored for Visitors

Delhi’s 16th-century Purana Qila Fort

Purana Qila

Delhi’s history is often spoken of in terms of its seven cities. These were fortified settlements, established by various rulers between the 11th and 17th centuries, now swallowed by the sprawling city of today. The sixth Delhi is the Purana Qila, or Old Fort, a 16th-century stone fort near the eastern edge of the city, and a particularly good place from which to tell the story of Delhi’s urban development. There are monuments in Delhi older than the Qila – and there are certainly more impressive ones. But it’s unlikely there exists another place in the city where history runs as deep.

Read More: Delhi’s 16th-century Purana Qila Fort

British Museum Announces Major Gallery Dedicated to Islamic World

British Museum Islamic Gallery

The British Museum today announced that it is to open a major new gallery dedicated to the Islamic world. The new space will open in 2018 and include exhibits currently not on display as well as re-displayed objects. The area, which will replace the existing Islamic World gallery on the north side of the museum and is considerably bigger, will lie at the heart of the museum. The museum said the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World aims to give visitors an understanding of the diverse and wide-ranging cultures of the Islamic world.

Read More: British Museum Announces Major Gallery Dedicated to Islamic World

New Islamic Art Exhibits Planned to Counter Islam’s Militant Image

Art from the Islamic world will be shown in the heart of the British Museum, instead of on the sidelines, in two new galleries funded by a Malaysian foundation which hopes to offset the image created by Islamic militants. The museum, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of art and artefacts, said on Thursday it plans to open two new galleries in its south wing devoted to its extensive collection of art from the Islamic world. Until now works from the collection have been displayed in a gallery tucked away on the north side of the massive building, a long walk from the main entrance.

Read More: New Islamic Art Exhibits Planned to Counter Islam’s Militant Image

Timbuktu’s Djinguereber Mosque

Djinguereber Mosque

Just as a public clock might establish the rhythm of some towns and cities, the Djinguereber mosque has set the time for nearly 700 years. Only recent attention on northern Mali – including a 2012 Jihadist occupation – has disrupted the gentle routine built around five prayers a day and an annual “restoration week” that triggers a DIY frenzy in the city’s homes. “We have not had to do major patching up since 2006 when the Aga Khan’s restoration programme began,” says the Djinguereber muezzin, Mahamane Mahanmoudou. “But I can see some small cracks now. We will have to do some work this year,” says the 77-year-old, who is also mason-in-chief of the mosque.

Read More: Timbuktu’s Djinguereber Mosque

Syria’s War-Scarred Citadel of Aleppo

Aleppo citadel

The great citadel of Aleppo has the grim distinction of being the world’s only ancient fortress that is back in action today as a garrison and artillery battery in the midst of war. In the ruins of arsenals, dungeons and palaces from earlier centuries, troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are wreaking destruction on enemies in the plain below, as though the Middle Ages had never ended. The slits in the walls which used to allow archers to launch their arrows at attackers are now used by Syrian government marksmen with sophisticated sniper rifles, safely taking aim at targets in the streets beneath them. Artillery rounds are regularly fired at Islamist rebel fighters from positions inside the castle grounds.

Read More: Syria’s War-Scarred Citadel of Aleppo

Humayun’s Tomb Gets Its Finial Back

Humayun's tomb finial

Humayun’s Tomb has got back its finial finally, almost nine months after it broke down in a storm last year. The new finial, which is an exact replica of the original, is made of 99.5 per cent pure copper and has been installed atop the main dome. Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) will, in the meanwhile, begin repairing the original finial and keep it at the proposed museum at the World Heritage Site.

Read More: Humayun’s Tomb Gets Its Finial Back

Exhibition Unveils Influence of Ottoman Culture on Western Artists

Sultan's world in Brussels

While leafing through books on world history, one might come upon the famous portrait of Mehmed the Conquer by renowned Italian artist Gentile Bellini, depicting the sultan under a carved stone arch, a symbol of power since the Roman period. Commissioned by the Venetian Republic to paint portraits of the sultan and his court, Bellini was one of the first Western artists to travel to Istanbul and was a source of inspiration for his following counterparts. The exhibition “The Sultan’s World: The Ottoman Orient in Renaissance Art” explores the perception of Renaissance artists who reflected an imperial culture in their works.

Read More: Exhibition Unveils Influence of Ottoman Culture on Western Artists


Mughal Serai Lost Inside Zoo Rises From Its Ruins

The 16th century Azimganj Serai is on its way to a complete revival. The monument, which is located within the Delhi zoo complex, was in ruins for decades. It has 108 vaults, of which many were crumbling away. And the work to consolidate and stabilize the structure started in phases nearly two years ago. They are being repaired, and restored wherever necessary said sources. The serai is being conserved for the first time.

Read More: Mughal Serai Lost Inside Zoo Rises From Its Ruins

The Dish that Travelled the World: 600 Year Journey of the Mahin Banu

Mahin Banu dish

In circa 1420 craftsmen from the village of Jingdezhen in Jiangxi province created a magnificent blue and white dish which would become known as The Mahin Banu ‘Grape’ Dish. The piece has passed through some of the most distinguished collections ever assembled and now appears in the Important Chinese Works Of Art sale at Sotheby’s New York on 18 March 2015 with an estimate of $2.5/3.5 million.

Read More: The Dish that Travelled the World

See also (Video): The ‘Mahin Banu’ Grape Dish

The Tiger of Mysore Tipu Sultan’s Weaponry for Sale at Bonhams

Tipu Sultan
A spectacular collection of arms and armour once owned by Tipu Sultan, the last King of Mysore, will be sold by Bonhams as part of the Islamic and Indian art auction at Bonhams New Bond Street on 21 April 2015. All the lots in the auction come from a single collection.  The collection – which has been exhibited and published – features sabres, gem-set trophy swords, embroidered arrow quivers, exquisite quilted helmets, blunderbusses, fowling pieces, sporting guns, pistols, and a three-pounder bronze cannon – each and every weapon a work of art in its own right.

Monir Farmanfarmaian Talks Art

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Above the buzz of tool-wielding contractors installing two floors’ worth of her artwork at the Guggenheim Museum on Monday morning, even Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian had to ask, “Did I do that all?” An understandable reaction considering the 91-year-old was taking in her first major U.S. museum show. When her “Infinite Possibility. Mirror Works and Drawings, 1974-2014” exhibition bows Wednesday [March 11], museumgoers will get a kaleidoscopic look at one of the more involved, yet untold stories in the modern art world.

Read More: Monir Farmanfarmaian Talks Art

The East India Company: The Original Corporate Raiders

East India Company

One of the very first Indian words to enter the English language was the Hindustani slang for plunder: “loot”. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this word was rarely heard outside the plains of north Indiauntil the late 18th century, when it suddenly became a common term across Britain. To understand how and why it took root and flourished in so distant a landscape, one need only visit Powis Castle.

Read More: The East India Company: The Original Corporate Raiders

Chelsea Show Garden Aims to Change People’s Perception of Islam

Beauty of Islam Garden

The show garden designs have been revealed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 and there is a new woman on Main Avenue. Making her Chelsea debut, Kamelia Bin Zaal will be the first Emirati landscape designer to appear at Chelsea and she is bringing her heritage to the forefront. The show garden, titled ‘The Beauty of Islam’, aims to meld modern and classic materials with planting from countries influenced by Arabic and Islamic culture. It is an ambitious attempt to bridge Middle Eastern and Western cultures.

Read More: Chelsea Show Garden Aims to Change People’s Perception of Islam

LACMA Gives Look at History of Islamic Art

LACMA Contemporary art exhibition 3

Stepping off the fourth-floor elevator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a visitor’s first encounter is a row of fluorescent neon signs that create intricate Arabic script. These signs are the beginning of a new exhibit, “Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of the Middle East.” With LACMA’s impressive permanent collection of traditional Islamic art which is one of the most extensive collections in the United States now on an extended tour, the exhibit of modern Middle Eastern art has opened in its place.

Read More: LACMA Gives Look at History of Islamic Art

Egyptian Ruins

Museum of Islamic Art Cairo 4

At 6:30 a.m. on an unseasonably warm Friday in late January last year [2014], a parked car filled with high explosives detonated outside Cairo’s famed Museum of Islamic Art. The blast blew out the building’s cathedral-like windows, hurled a streetlight through the thick front doors, and pockmarked the façade with cannonball-sized cracks. Inside the cavernous, smoke-filled space, the devastation was even more jarring. After boring a deep crater into the road at the foot of the adjacent police headquarters, the shock waves had torn through the flimsy aluminum shutters and shattered over 250 displays of ceramic art and glasswork.

Read More: Egyptian Ruins

Master of Bronze Parviz Tanavoli Strives for Recognition on Home Soil

Parviz Tanavoli 5

Over the past few months, sculptor Parviz Tanavoli has been described to me as a visionary who is “a giant among his generation;” a master of modern art who “almost single-handedly resurrected sculpture as an art form in Iran”; and “quite simply the most famous and influential living artist from the Islamic world.” Tanavoli, who was born in Iran, divides his time between Tehran and Horseshoe Bay, north of Vancouver, where he has lived since 1989. But while 2015 is shaping up to be perhaps the biggest of his career, with a major retrospective that has just opened outside Boston and more to come, recognition has largely eluded him at home in Canada.

Read More: Master of Bronze Parviz Tanavoli Strives for Recognition on Home Soil

See also: Parviz Tanavoli: A Pawn in Iran’s Culture Wars

Indian Influence in New Exhibit at Aga Khan Museum

Howard Hodgkin 1

Two new exhibitions, distinct but connected by one man’s passion for India, open to the public starting Saturday, February 21 at the Aga Khan Museum. One of the exhibitions called the “Visions of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin” features 60 historical works from the British artist’s personal collection. The other exhibition to be displayed in tandem is called “Inspired by India: Paintings by Howard Hodgkin”, which features eight of Hodgkin’s expressive paintings.

Read More: Indian Influence in New Exhibit at Aga Khan Museum

Unprecedented Hidden Treasure Discovered off Israeli Coast

Fatimid coins Caesarea 2

A record-breaking ancient treasure trove of gold coins has been discovered along the Israeli coast, in what is believed to be the largest-ever such find in Israel. The astonishing haul was discovered by accident, when a group of divers from a local diving club at the ancient harbor in Caesarea National Park stumbled upon what they thought was a toy coin discarded by a tourist. But after realizing the coins were “the real thing” they quickly collected several samples and returned to the shore in order to inform the director of the diving club, who in turn reported the discovery to the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Read More: Unprecedented Hidden Treasure Discovered off Israeli Coast

Divers in Caesarea Find Largest Treasure of Gold Coins Ever Discovered in Israel

Fatimid coins Caesarea

The largest treasure of gold coins discovered in Israel was found in recent weeks on the seabed in the ancient harbor in Caesarea National Park, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Tuesday. A group of divers from the diving club in the harbor reported the find to the IAA whose officials then went with the divers to the location with a metal detector and uncovered almost 2,000 gold coins from the Fatimid period (eleventh century CE) in different denominations: a dinar, half dinar and quarter dinar, of various dimensions and weight.

Read More: Divers in Caesarea Find Largest Treasure of Gold Coins Ever Discovered in Israel


Exhibition Shows How Christians, Muslims, Jews Created Vibrant Society in Medieval Cairo

Cosmopolitan city Cairo

A new exhibition at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum will offer a glimpse into everyday life in a lively, multicultural city in ancient Egypt. “A Cosmopolitan City: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Old Cairo” features many objects that have never been displayed in the museum before and shows how people of different faiths interacted to create a vibrant society. The exhibition is on view from Tuesday, February 17 through September 13 [2015]. The exhibition sheds light on Egypt in the time between the pharaohs and the modern city, roughly 650–1170 AD, when the main population lived in the area known as Fustat, located in today’s southern Cairo.

Read More: Exhibition Shows How Christians, Muslims, Jews Created Vibrant Society in Medieval Cairo

Parviz Tanavoli: A Pawn in Iran’s Culture Wars

Parviz Tanavoli 4

On 16 March 2014 renowned Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli awoke in his Tehran home to the sound of his daughter screaming. Twenty men had broken the locks on the door and entered his home. They refused to show identification, and proceeded to seize all the artwork they could find. Tanavoli’s daughter filmed the men as they bound the massive sculptures with metal chains and lifted them with small cranes onto pickup trucks waiting on the street outside. One rectangular bronze piece was not harnessed securely, and fell off its wooden pallet onto the street.

Read More: Parviz Tanavoli: A Pawn in Iran’s Culture Wars

See also: Parviz Tanavoli: Plenty of ‘Nothing’

1,000 Year-old Mausoleum Accidentally Damaged in Aswan

Fatimid cemetery Aswan

The 1,000-year-old dome of a mausoleum in Aswan’s Fatimid cemetery was severely damaged Monday [February 9th, 2015] after a derrick fell on it during nearby construction, said head of Islamic and Coptic Monuments Dept. at the antiquities ministry Mohamed Abdel Latif. In a phone call with al-Mehwar TV channel, Abdel Latif said the boom of a derrick, working in the neighboring area where the Aswan International Sculpture Symposium is being held, “malfunctioned and fell causing damage to the southern part of the fence surrounding the Maadawi dome mausoleum along with half of the dome’s top.”

Read More: 1,000 Year-old Mausoleum Accidentally Damaged in Aswan


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