DUBAI // A collection of ancient and valuable Islamic art never before displayed in the UAE has gone on show in honour of Ramadan. The Story of Islamic Art in 99 Objects includes an early 19th-century curtain from the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed, which is embroidered with the seal of Sultan Mahmud II from the Ottoman empire. Another exhibit is an alabaster stone from the mihrab, the wall that indicates the direction of the Kaaba, dating back to 10th-century central Asia. The stone is believed to be the only one in existence.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Abdul Rahman Mohammed al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, opened the exhibition on Sunday night alongside Dr Farhad Farjam, the Iranian collector who owns the items. The show was curated by 11 students from Zayed University who have been tutored by representatives from the Farjam Collection.
Being able to "see and feel" such rare pieces helped the students learn, said Ron Hawker, an associate professor of art history at Zayed University. Shatha al Mulla, 19, said the experience taught her more about Islam. "It combined both my religion and my major," she said. "I learned how to cherish both. These works are not just pieces of art and design, they are pieces of history. " The free exhibition at the Dubai International Financial Centre is open Sunday to Thursday, 10am to 8pm, and Saturday, noon to 8pm.