Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Our Exhibition Abroad, Canada: The World of The Fatimids Goes on Display in Toronto

A collection of Fatimid artefacts arrived safely in Canada for a temporary exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A collection of Fatimid artefacts from Cairo arrived in Toronto on Tuesday for inclusion in a temporary exhibition at the city's Aga Khan Museum.

The exhibition, titled The World of the Fatimids, will run from 10 March to 2 July, providing North America with its first display of carefully selected Fatimid artworks, according to the museum.

Elham Salah, head of the museums sector at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the museum has received eight wooden boxes containing a collection of 37 artefacts for the show.

The artefacts were carefully selected from the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in the Bab Al-Khalq area of Cairo. They reflect the history of the Fatimids, who "established one of the greatest civilisations in the world, influencing knowledge and culture throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Near East," according to the Aga Khan Museum website.

Salah said that the ministry had taken all the necessary legal and administrative measures to ensure the safe transportation of the artefacts from Cairo to Canada, applying the latest techniques in packaging and transportation.

An archaeologist and a conservator from the ministry accompanied the artefacts to monitor them on their long journey and inspect them on arrival, said Salah.

Mamdouh Osman, general director of the MIA, said that the artefacts include a collection of clay pots, dishes with various foliage and animal decorations, and a wooden mihrab (niche) decorated with a two-line inscription in kufic script.

There are also a number of marble tombstones inscribed with kufic script reading: "This is the tomb of Hamzah ibn Ali and his descendant Al-Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib," referring to the cousin of Prophet Mohamed.

Also among the artefacts are marble vases, copper lamps and chandeliers with kufic script, and other objects in rock crystal, ivory and ceramic.

The exhibition features films on Fatimid Cairo, using drone video footage and 360 virtual reality technology, offering an insight into what the city was like a thousand years ago.

The Aga Khan Museum says the exhibition, "bears witness to a remarkable dynasty that built one of the world’s oldest universities, compiled one of its greatest libraries, and fostered a flowering of the arts and sciences."

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