Rare Islamic Tile to be Auctioned in Devon

Iznik tile

A rare and exquisite Islamic figural tile, which dates to the Ottoman Empire, will attract serious collectors when it comes up for sale in Devon next week. It was brought in to Rendells Fine Art, Stonepark, Ashburton by a client believing it to be Greek. However, cataloguer and valuer David Ship instantly recognised it as a highly prized Islamic tile, circa late 16th/early 17th century.

Read More: Rare Islamic Tile to be Auctioned in Devon


Mother-of-Pearl Tray Makes World Record £962,500 in Bonhams’ Islamic and Indian Art Sale

Mother-of-pearl tray

A unique mother-of-pearl and black lac overlaid wood tray has set a new world record of £962,500 for a piece of this type, selling to a bidder in the room for well over ten times its estimate in Bonhams’ Islamic and Indian Art sale on 6th October.

Read More: Mother-of-Pearl Tray Makes World Record £962,500 in Bonhams’ Islamic and Indian Art Sale

Homeward Ground


HomeGround: Contemporary Art from the Barjeel Foundation” is a testimony to the heterogeneous ways that themes of diaspora, immigration, violence, and belonging can be imagined. The exhibit, located at the Aga Khan Museum, mobilizes a wealth of mediums, ranging from film, to paint, to sculpture, by twelve artists of middle eastern descent. The artists, according to curator Suhelya Takesh, are “striving for an ability to remain in place, for the rights to travel, to emigrate, to return, or to feel at home.” Takesh wants guests to note the relationship between geography and self-fashioning.

Read More: Homeward Ground

An Art Scene Flourishes Behind Closed Doors in Saudi Arabia

Art scene in Saudi Arabia

Arwa Alneami’s latest art project is called the “Drop Zone,” named after the vertical, free-fall amusement park ride. Her work is made up of photographs and videos from a theme park in her hometown of Abha, in southern Saudi Arabia. The rules for women there have become so strict that the park has signs telling them they can’t scream loudly on the rides. “You should hear the voice of the ladies, they cannot scream,” she says, and then imitates the stifled screams of the women clad entirely in black in her videos. Alneami is a young Saudi artist pushing against the many red lines in the conservative society where she lives. She’s not breaking them, she says. She’s just reflecting society back on itself.

Read More: An Art Scene Flourishes Behind Closed Doors in Saudi Arabia

Opulent and Apolitical: The Art of the Met’s Islamic Galleries

Opulent and Apolitical

When the Islamic galleries of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened in 2011 (after eight years of renovation), it was heralded as a landmark moment for deepening American understanding of the Islamic world. Amid live performances and lectures, the museum’s 15 new galleries brought audiences into a physical world of lavish carpets, ceramics and miniature paintings. Since the Met’s Islamic revival, the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London have also invested in glittering new galleries for Islamic art. And this year alone in the United States, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art each has an exhibition dedicated to the genre.

Read More: Opulent and Apolitical: The Art of the Met’s Islamic Galleries

Turkish Art ‘Invades’ National Library Naples

The inauguration of the exhibit ‘Knowledge of the Islamic world in Naples (XVI-XIX century)’ will open Tuesday [September 15th, 2015] at the National library in Naples the 15th edition of the International congress on Turkish art, taking place in Italy after the 2011 edition in Paris. The choice of Naples was made for the historic interest the city has for the Turkish world. In the so-called Golden century of Spanish power, Naples was the main port of the western Mediterranean while Istanbul was at the time governed by Suleiman, lord of the Ottoman Empire, which stretched from the Mediterranean coasts to today’s Poland and Ukraine.

Read More: Turkish Art ‘Invades’ National Library Naples

Dallas Museum of Art Announces Kosmos Energy as the Presenting Sponsor of the Keir Collection of Islamic Art

Keir Collection in Dallas

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today announced that Kosmos Energy has been named the Presenting Sponsor of the Keir Collection of Islamic Art for its inaugural years of exhibitions and installations. The partnership between the Museum and the Dallas-based international oil and gas exploration and production company will provide $800,000 of support for the Museum’s forthcoming series of special exhibitions, installations in its collection galleries, and a prospective touring exhibition over an initial multi-year period. The sponsorship also includes resources to facilitate loans of items from the Keir Collection to other domestic and international institutions for related exhibitions and installations.

Read More: Dallas Museum of Art Announces Kosmos Energy as the Presenting Sponsor of the Keir Collection of Islamic Art

Sotheby’s Opens Office in India and Announces Strategic Appointments in Its Indian Business

Sotheby's Appointments

Sotheby’s opens office in India with two new appointments. Edward Gibbs will take reins as Chairman, Sotheby’s India, Middle East and North Africa; and Priyanka Mathew has been appointed Regional Director, Sotheby’s India. With offices in many cities in the world, including London, New York, Hong Kong and Doha, the international auction house will now set up a base in Mumbai. While Sotheby’s has been working with prominent collectors and organising regular events in both New Delhi and Mumbai for a few decades, the move to put down roots in the country will enable the auction house to extend its reach to new collectors as well as consolidate its relationship with existing collectors in the coming years.

Read More: Sotheby’s Opens Office in India and Announces Strategic Appointments in Its Indian Business

Oliver White Appointed as Head of Indian and Islamic Department at Bonhams

Oliver White

Bonhams has announced the appointment of Oliver White as the new head of its UK Islamic and Indian Art department with immediate effect. Oliver has been a specialist in the department for the past five years and takes up his new role at an exciting time. Bonhams secured nearly 50% of the market during Indian and Islamic auction week in April 2015 when its sale containing weapons from the armoury of Tipu Sultan, made more than £7.4 million. White said: “This is a wonderful opportunity and my challenge is to build on the achievements of the past to secure continued success in the future.”

Read More: Oliver White Appointed as Head of Indian and Islamic Department at Bonhams

An Arab Autumn Begins

An Arab Autumn Begins

The most extensive display of modern and contemporary Arab art ever staged in Britain, possibly in the West, begins at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London today 9 September 2015], and runs, chronologically in four successive parts, until January 2017. All 100 works in this marathon exhibition hail from one privately owned collection in the Gulf which has a mission in these troubled times to share the beauty of Arab art with the world. The Sharjah-based Barjeel Art Foundation Collection, which numbers over 1,200 works by artists from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea dating from 1900 to the present day, has been built by Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, commonly described as a journalist and commentator on Arab affairs but who also belongs to the ruling family in Sharjah and is chairman of a successful investment company.

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Isis Profits from Destruction of Antiquities by Selling Relics to Dealers

Isis profits from antiquities

So why is Isis blowing to pieces the greatest artefacts of ancient history in Syria and Iraq? The archeologist Joanne Farchakh has a unique answer to a unique crime. First, Isis sells the statues, stone faces and frescoes that international dealers demand. It takes the money, hands over the relics – and blows up the temples and buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of what has been looted. “Antiquities from Palmyra are already on sale in London,” the Lebanese-French archaeologist Ms Farchakh says. “There are Syrian and Iraqi objects taken by Isis that are already in Europe.

Read More: Isis Profits from Desctruction of Antiquities by Selling Relics to Dealers

Original Fatimid Wall Possibly Uncovered in Old Cairo’s Gamaliya

Fatimid wall

Excavation work near Old Cairo’s northern gate in the Gamaliya district could have revealed a segment of the original Fatimid wall. Antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that if studies confirm the wall dates back to the Fatimid Caliphate (909 – 1171 AD) it will constitute an important discovery. Eldamaty said the whole original wall could feasibly be revealed.

Read More: Original Fatimid Wall Possibly Uncovered in Old Cairo’s Gamaliya

Contemporary Art from Middle East, North Africa

Home Ground

An imaginary building to house the Palestinian State, birds that need a permit to fly and a request for citizenship of a country that does not yet exist — these are some of the thought-provoking concepts presented in an exhibition hosted by the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, in collaboration with the Sharjah-based Barjeel Art Foundation. The show, titled “Home Ground: Contemporary Art from the Barjeel Art Foundation”, features important works by 12 leading Arab artists born in the Middle East and North Africa.

Read More: Contemporary Art from Middle East, North Africa

Groom Yourself Happy with 11th-Century Literature

Mirrors for Princes exhibition

Long, shiny hair can be very appealing in its place – yet hair becomes repulsive as soon as it is detached from the head. Perhaps it’s not all that surprising, then, that in an exhibition filled with severed tongues and torn out hearts, the most visceral and unsettling work is a wooden book stand sprouting a thick crop of straight, honey-colored hair. “Zulf” (Brunette) is one of a series of bizarre, humorous and consistently clever works on show at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, currently hosting international artists’ collective Slavs and Tatars’ latest solo show, “Mirrors for Princes: Both Sides of the Tongue.”

Read More: Groom Yourself Happy with 11th-Century Literature

A Panoramic Shot of Arab Art

Arab photo art exhibition

A woman walking briskly through the gallery’s snaking exhibition layout, paying scant attention to the work around her, stopped suddenly in her tracks at the sight of Saudi artist Ahmed Matar’s photograph “Let It Be Passed,” forcing the lady behind her to swerve wildly in order to avoid a collision. “Wow,” the first woman could be heard to exclaim. Then, “I love it. I love it!” A dramatic reaction to a photograph, maybe, but one that suggests “View from Inside: Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art” is managing to reach its viewers. The image, an enormous color shot of two young boys pressed up against a fence on a hill overlooking the Islamic holy city of Mecca – a sea of minarets lit up like candles in the night – was part of an exhibition originally dreamt up by FotoFest.

Read More: A Panoramic Shot of Arab Art

Adonis on Giving Freedom to His Hands


“Everything is poetry,” Adonis said. “The difference between a poem and a painting is simply the material that has been used.” Often called the Arab world’s greatest living poet, but also well-known for his essays and a seminal book of literary criticism, Adonis spoke to The Daily Star on the eve of the opening of “A,” an exhibition of his visual art. “The relationship between a piece of paper and a stain of ink,” Adonis continued, “there’s composition, there’s musicality, vertical dimensions. It just depends who the artist is.”

Read More: Adonis on Giving Freedom to His Hands

Qatar Museums Opens ‘Qajar Women: Images of Women in 19th-Century Iran’ Exhibition

Qajar Women exhibition

Under the patronage of Qatar Museums Chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) opened “Qajar Women: Images of Women in 19th-Century Iran” exhibition today [April 8th]. Running until 16 June 2016, this new temporary exhibition showcases a wide variety of artworks from the Qajar period, all of which feature Persian women as the main subject. This exhibition demonstrates the importance of women in the art of 19th-century Iran and how this continues to inspire contemporary artists.

Read More: Qatar Museums Opens ‘Qajar Women: Images of Women in 19th-Century Iran’ Exhibition

Work on First Sunken Museum at Humayun’s Tomb to Begin Tuesday

Work will begin Tuesday on the construction of the “country’s first” sunken museum at the iconic Humayun’s Tomb site, which after its completion in 2017 will showcase the heritage of the Nizamuddin Area over the last seven centuries. Inspired from the medieval baolis (water tanks) of northern India, the underground site museum, with a built-up area of 9000 sq m, will marry modern 21st centuryarchitecture with Mughal-era craftsmanship in its design.

Read More: Work no First Sunken Museum at Humayun’s Tomb to Begin Tuesday

See also: Underground Museum at Humayun’s Tomb in Two Years


Underground Museum at Humayun’s Tomb in Two Years

Humayun's tomb

Come 2017, the city will have its first, fully underground museum at the world-famous Humayun’s Tomb complex, which will showcase art, culture and architectural history of the Nizamuddin area spanning over seven centuries. Inspired by the traditional baolis of northern India, the one-of-its-kind museum will be constructed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture as part of the Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Programme. The foundation stone will be laid on Tuesday by Union tourism minister Dr Mahesh Sharma in the presence of Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, who will be in Delhi to receive the Padma Vibhushan. Officials said this would be the first of the site museums planned by the culture ministry as part of the 25 adarsh or “model” monuments programme.

Read More: Underground Museum at Humayun’s Tomb in Two Years

See also: Humayun’s Tomb Set to Get Site Museum


Pieces with Tales to Tell

EEvery object tells a story

The dealer in Islamic art Oliver Hoare is putting on a marvellously eclectic show of 250 objects, ranging from a Chinese winged rider in stone (5th-6th century AD), a marble emperor’s foot from the Roman empire, obsidian bell-stones from the Andes, erotic Japanese prints, a 1930s Italian baboon, Islamic manuscripts to Ottoman instruments. Most of the works are for sale at prices starting at about £500 to more than £1m, from May 6-June 26 at 33 Fitzroy Square in London. Hoare had a gallery in London in the 1980s and is well known for the swap he engineered in 1994 with Iran, when a 16th-century Persian manuscript, the famed “Houghton Shahnameh” was dramatically exchanged at Vienna airport for Willem de Kooning’s “Woman III” from the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Read More: Pieces with Tales to Tell


A Park That Threatens Taj Mahal’s Safety?

Taj Mahal

Most photographs of the Taj Mahal taken before 2003 show the Yamuna river flowing close to the rear foundation of the edifice, its water in fact lapping the rear wall. But now a park developed by the Archaeological Survey of India, no doubt to beautify the area around it, has distanced the Yamuna by a good 100 hundred yards from the world-famous marble maosoleum. This could prove dangerous for the foundation of the 17th century monument of love, which could tilt or sink, author and eminent historian of the Mughal period R. Nath has warned. The health of Taj’s foundation is dependent on the Yamuna, which should flow full and touch the rear part of the mammoth structure.

Read More: A Park That Threatens Taj Mahal’s Safety?


Qutb Shahi Tombs to Regain Lost Grandeur

Qutb Shahi tombs project 6

The Qutb Shahi Heritage Park, as the entire complex is called, has 72 monuments including mausoleums of rulers of the Qutub Shahi dynasty (1518-1687) spread over 108 acres at the foot of the majestic Golconda Fort. Like many historic monuments in this 425-year-old city, the tombs have also been long neglected and face threat from encroachers. The 16th-17th century necropolis is now getting a new lease of life thanks to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which began the conservation work in November 2013.

Read More: Qutb Shahi Tombs to Regain Lost Grandeur

See also: A New Lease of Life for Qutb Shahi Tombs

Timur’s Registan: Noblest Public Square in the World?

Registan Square

It was on a bright, clear afternoon that I went to the Registan and walked to the centre of the tiled expanse. All around me loomed impossibly ornate portals, patterned minarets and glistening cupolas. The world was suddenly rife with glazed mosaics in liquid shades of blue. The motifs around me would have been impressive enough on a teacup, but in such profusion and on so massive a scale they soon had me dizzy. The effect, it seems, was intended. They’re part of the legacy of the Turco-Mongol king Timur in his ancient city of Samarkand, located in modern-day Uzbekistan.

Read More: Timur’s Registan: Noblest Public Square in the World?

A New Lease of Life for Qutb Shahi Tombs

Qutb Shahi tombs project 3

The contrast is striking. On one side are blackened domes with vegetal growth sprouting and on the other, lime-mortar finished graceful structures rising in the sky. Visitors to the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park can’t help draw in their breath at the transformation taking place. The 16 century mausoleums are getting a second lease of life. Correcting the criminal neglect suffered by the tombs during the last two centuries is no easy task. But the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), world’s leading conservation body, has almost succeeded in doing the impossible.

Read More: A New Lease of Life for Qutb Shahi Tombs

See also: Qutb Shahi Monuments to be Restored

16th Century Wall Found at Qutub Shahi in Hyderabad

Qutb Shahi tombs project 5

A 16th century enclosure wall was recently discovered at the Qutub Shahi Heritage Park. Retired director of ASI, K.K. Mohammed, who is now part of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) that is restoring the heritage site, said, “The 243-metre long enclosure was built much before the tomb complex.” The wall is up to nine feet below the current ground level at the heritage park. AKTC said that the wall would be restored and landscaping would be done.

Read More: 16th Century Wall Found at Qutub Shahi in Hyderabad