The first object from the Kier Collection, a trove of Islamic Art that includes nearly 2,000 objects and will be on a 15-year renewable loan with the Dallas Museum of Art, was unveiled at the museum this morning. The rock crystal ewer is an exquisitely crafted pouring vesicle that dates back to the courts of Fatimid Egypt in the late 10th century. Carved from a single stone, the object is the work of virtuosic skill, its delicate translucent container as thin as 1 mm in sections. The face of the ewer features an inlaid design, twisting vines which frame the profile of a cheetah, its back arched, eyes peering outwards. Carved from silica mineral quartz, it is one of only seven objects in the world that features a stone this large, and it is the cornerstone of the collection that is coming to Dallas.
Last week, the Dallas Museum of Art announced that over the next year it will be taking delivery of containers filled with richly colored carpets and delicate textiles, gleaming lusterware and carved rock-crystal, finely wrought metalwork and folios from illustrated manuscripts, intricately decorated book bindings and splendid calligraphy. The almost 2,000 pieces, created from the eighth through 19th centuries from across the Muslim world, will begin arriving in May from London, where Edmund de Unger (1918-2011) collected and lived with them, treasuring them for their beauty and the knowledge they embodied.
One of the world’s largest private holdings of Islamic art will come to the Dallas Museum of Art on loan in May, museum officials announced Monday [February 3rd]. The loan, described as renewable in 15 years, will transform the museum’s Islamic art collection into the third largest of its kind in North America, according to DMA officials. “We are deeply grateful to the collection’s trustees for entrusting us with this unparalleled collection, which will enhance the DMA’s growing strengths in the area of Islamic art,” DMA director Maxwell Anderson said in a prepared statement.
While Texas may have the fifth largest Muslim population in the United States by some estimates, its public art collections have only recently begun to reflect the 14-century sweep of Islamic history. But on Friday [31st January], with the stroke of a pen — sealing a complex agreement hashed out over months — the Dallas Museum of Art will become the long-term custodian of one of the most important collections of Islamic art in private hands.
Dr Amin Jaffer is a study in suave sophistication. An impressive raconteur, he is the opposite of what one might expect of a serious art historian and advisor. His career has straddled the worlds of academia and commerce, but one of his admirable qualities is how effortless he makes it all seem. While he regards himself as Indian in terms of ethnicity, his birthplace is actually Kigali, Rwanda. The youngest of three children, Amin spent his formative years in Rwanda, Kenya, Belgium, England, Canada and the USA. His ﬁrst exposure to art was at the age of six when his mother took him to the Louvre and to Versailles. He still has a photograph he took at the time, of the Raft of the Medusa by Géricault. From that early age, Amin knew that art was his calling, a passion that carried over to his university education.
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Nasser David Khalili, the billionaire property developer and collector of Islamic art, has won a court case against a Dubai-based businessman, Farbod Dowlatshahi, his former associate and a one-time member of the board of his family trust. The case has revealed that he lent large amounts of money to Dowlatshahi for art deals that never materialised, among them an attempt to sell the Khalili collection to Abu Dhabi.