British Museum to open new Islamic culture gallery
LONDON - Anadolu Agency
In a major re-display, The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World will exhibit a “world-class Islamic collection,” which will include very fine Turkish arts from the Ottoman era as well as from a vast Islamic geography.
It “will underscore global connections across a vast region of the world from West Africa to Southeast Asia and reflect links between the ancient and medieval as well as the modern worlds.”
The new gallery will have two rooms, which “tells the story of the cultures of the Islamic World from a region that stretches from West Africa to Southeast Asia from the seventh century to the present day,” Venetia Porter, British Museum curator said.
The collection includes archaeology, decorative arts, shadow puppets, book arts, textiles and contemporary art.
“We know how important the tradition of Karagöz [the general name of the Turkish shadow puppet tradition] is in Turkey now but it has a very long tradition as well,” Porter said.
Porter underlined that the museum was “fortunate to include shadow puppets made by Metin Özlen,” one of the most prominent Karagöz puppeteers in Turkey.
Underlining that many other examples of the Ottoman culture will be represented in the new gallery, Porter said an important Ottoman mosque lamp made in İznik and a beautiful Ottoman banner from the period of Selim III (1761-1808) are among the objects that will be put on display.
The gallery will also have other objects from the rich Ottoman culture, including a pair of pearl-decorated wooden bath clogs, many examples of İznik ceramic pottery and garments related to Sultan Selim III.
“Islam has played a significant role in great civilizations as a faith, political system and culture,” the British Museum said in a press release, adding that it “will feature objects that give an overview of cultural exchange in an area stretching from Nigeria to Indonesia and from the seventh century to the present day.”
The new collection will also include stunning 14th century illustrated pages from one of the most celebrated oral traditions, the Persian epic Shahnama (Book of Kings), which will be shown alongside monumental folios of the 16th-century Indian Mughal emperor Akbar’s Hamza-nama (Adventures of Hamza).
The Albukhary Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Malaysia with an international presence. For the past forty years, it has been promoting goodwill through education and cultural heritage.