Wednesday, November 18, 2015

News, Cairo: 'Magical Shirt' to Protect Against Diseases Set for Display at Renovated MIA

The Museum of Islamic Art, damaged in a powerful car bombing in 2014 targeting an adjacent building, is set to reopen December after nearly two years of restoration work. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities is to open next month the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) after almost two years of restoration work. In January 2014, the museum was damaged after powerful car bomb exploded outside the adjacent Cairo Security Directorate. 

The façade of the museum was completely destroyed, glass windows broken, and ceilings inside the museum fell down with a large number of artifacts damaged. In August 2014, the United Arab Emirates adopted the museum's restoration scheme and in December the museum is finally to be re-inaugurated.

MIA Director General Ahmed El-Shoki said that the display arrangement at the museum has been changed, with artefacts now exhibited in three topics: first, Islamic objects from Egypt's history; second, items from other Islamic countries; third, artefacts according to their use, such as writing, daily life and medicine.

The medicine hall, El-Shoki continued, is to put on display a collection of medical equipment used during the Abbasid era, as well as surgical instruments and medical manuscripts on the medicinal benefits of herbs. Medical terminologies and pharmacological components used by the Arab physician Ibn Sina are also on show. 

"The most distinguished artefact on display in the medicine hall is the Iranian shirt known as the "Magical Shirt," El-Shoki told Ahram Online, adding that the shirt goes back to the Safavid Iranian era and is decorated with spells that protect its wearer from any diseases.

One of the spells, said El-Shoki, reads: "The person who wears this shirt will be protected from diseases, pains and assassination."  He continued that it seems the spell did not last long, as the shirt bears traces of blood, suggesting that the person who wore it was injured or killed. The shirt came to the museum in the 1960s and is now under restoration before being exhibited.
Source: Ahram Online
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