A Rare Insight into the Ancient East
The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) brings to Doha a landmark exhibition, Splendours of the Ancient East: Antiquities from The al-Sabah Collection, in its Temporary Exhibition Gallery.
Drawn from the extraordinary holdings assembled in Kuwait by Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Sheikha Hussa Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the display of more than 170 objects in the exhibition provide a sweeping overview of the artistic and material culture of the ancient world, while also revealing new insights into the roots of Islamic art.
Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, said: “We thank Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hussa Al Sabah for sharing their wonderful treasures with our community. The partnership between Qatar Museums and Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyah reflects the token of friendship shared between our families, communities and nations. It is my great honour to celebrate this marvellous collection at NMoQ as we mourn the passing of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber, may Allah the Almighty have mercy upon him.”
The objects selected for Splendours of the Ancient East: Antiquities from The al-Sabah Collection range in date from the third millennium BCE to the fifth century CE and include jewellery and adornments (rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, buckles and buttons), household furnishings (bowls, beakers, jars, ewers, cups, rhytons, bottles, dishes and rugs), anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines and ritual objects and decorative elements along-with carved gemstones and seals
“My husband Sheikh Nasser and I take great joy in sharing this exhibition with the people of Qatar,” said Sheikha Hussa, director of the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah and co-owner of The al-Sabah Collection. “Splendours of the Ancient East offers a glimpse of the art, history and culture of the ancient Near East; allowing visitors to see and appreciate the artistic challenges people faced as far back as 4,000 years ago. Successfully met, these artists created a corpus of objects whose influence can be seen in the work of contemporary artists.”
The objects in the exhibition are made with materials that include gold, silver, bronze, lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, garnet, agate, amethyst, pearl, diamond crystals, glass, ivory, alabaster and enamel. The use of such precious materials, and the exquisite workmanship of these artefacts, have made it possible for these objects to be preserved and treasured for millennia. They now testify to an artistic heritage that flourished in the Gulf region and nourished the later achievements of Islamic art.
Qatar Museums has implemented health and safety protocols that include requiring visitors to purchase tickets in advance on QM’s website.