RIYADH — For the first time in Saudi Arabia last month, a comprehensive private Islamic collection that features unique pieces of art from 7th century to 9th century from Andalusia to Indonesia was showcased in Riyadh in an exclusive two-day exhibition and forum.
The prestigious collection, which was displayed during “A Legacy of Islamic Art Exhibition & Forum” at King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND), incorporated 200 pieces comprising different mediums including metal work, pottery, arms and armor, stone, wood, textiles and furniture. It took 40 years to put the collection together covering varied Islamic dynasties from different parts of the world.
Lectures and discussions by international experts who attended the forum centered on the works of art in the collection as reported by the Saudi Gazette.
The experts included Dr. Robert Elgood from Oxford University, Prof. Jennifer Scarce, formerly Curator of Middle Eastern Cultures at National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, and Jennifer Warden, formerly senior curator, Textiles Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The highlight of the collection was a kiswa of the Kaaba, which is dated 1909 or a few years earlier, along with one of the largest pieces of the inner kiswa of the Kaaba dating back to 1860 (1277 AH) that was part of the collection of Sultan Jahan Begum of Bhopal.
The Legacy collection is a private initiative that planted a seed to be nurtured into a thriving industry with lucrative investments, as there is a visible gap from the Middle East to Hong Kong in this area.
Saudi Arabia is geographically well placed to gain prominence as a hub of culture and heritage.
The owners of the collection have invested a huge capital especially in the light of Saudi Vision 2030. — Waqar Naseem Wamiq