A globally renowned collection of Islamic art is on view at De Nieuwe Kerk (Dam, International Exhibition Centre, Gravenstraat 17
Assembled by Prof. Nasser D. Khalili, a well-known scholar and benefactor, it includes over 500 objects, among them illuminated Korans and manuscripts, paintings, gold, jewels, textiles, ceramics, glassware, lacquerware, metalwork and wood carvings.
“The exhibit shows that Islamic art is a masterly expression not of a single national culture or civilization,” said Vincent Boele, curator of exhibitions for the museum, “but of many peoples joined by Islam for more than 1,400 years.”
The collection includes works originating from around the globe — China, Spain, India, Tunisia — many of them masterpieces. They include manuscripts dating from the 10th to the 19th century, jewelry set with precious stones, as well as vibrant enamels that belonged to India’s Mughal rulers and exquisite miniatures from India and Iran.
While the general perception of Islamic art is that it is always religious and without representations of humans and animals, this exhibition shows otherwise, including in miniature paintings. It also features many pieces with the calligraphic decoration and geometric patterns that have come to characterize Islamic art.
Professor Khalili has strong links with Oxford University, where he established a research fellowship in Islamic Art and endowed the Khalili Research Center for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East. This is the first time his collection has been shown in The Netherlands.
Nieuwe Kerk - Open Friday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is 15 euros - www.nieuwekerk.nl) through April 17 -2010