Now there is a third link: an exhibition starting next month in St Petersburg will be travelling to Malaysia next year. To complicate matters, the show actually originates in a different northern winter wonderland. That old favourite of mine, the Aga Khan Museum, may not exist yet in its new Toronto setting, but it is certainly making its presence felt in other locations.
Just a few months after closing one exhibition in Istanbul, there is another one opening at the State Hermitage in St Petersburg. The latest theme is Architecture and its Representations in Islamic Art, just right for Awal Muharram, and admirably represented in the Aga Khan collection.
As architecture is one of the greatest accomplishments of the Islamic world, it is appropriate that it is coming to Malaysia, with its small but important showing in this field.
Event : Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic Arts
Date : 30th March 2012 - 29th June 2012
Category : Exhibition
“Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic World”, a travelling exhibition of objects and art from the Aga Khan Museum collections, which has been touring renowned museums in key European cities, is now coming to the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. Currently running at the prestigious State Hermitage Museum, in St Petersburg, Russia, the exhibition at The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia will mark the first time that the collection will be displayed in Southeast Asia. It will run from 30th March to 29th June 2012.
The exhibition is divided into six sections: “Sacred Typographies”, which explores the sites and monuments of Islamic pilgrimage through paintings and drawings; “Religious and Funerary Architecture”, which examines mosques and commemorative shrines; “The Fortress and the City”, which encompasses forts and fortified towns; “The Palace”, which looks at the residences of royal families; “Gardens, Pavilions and Tents”, which discusses the arts of shelter; and “Architecture and the Written Word”, which focuses on architectural spaces contained in miniature painting.
Among the most notable artefacts on exhibit are: a miniature entitled “16th century folio from the most famous series of paintings in Muslim art, the celebrated Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp; architectural elements like muqarnas and ornamented wood pieces from 15th century Spain; glazed turquoise earthenware elements from late 14th century Central Asia; tiled arches from 15th century Egypt; ornamental doors from 9th century Iran and 16th century Iznik tiles from Turkey.Architecture is one of the most visible manifestations of Islamic art. It has flourished across the Islamic world for over 1,400 years. Majestic domes, peaceful courtyards and towering minarets not only punctuate the landscape with their grandeur, but also serve as a unifying element in Islamic art and heritage. In recognition of the importance of architecture to the artistic traditions of the Islamic world, The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is proud to host the travelling exhibition “Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic World.”
Accompanying the exhibition is an impressive catalogue that features essays by renowned scholars such as: Nasser Rabbat, David J. Roxburgh, Kishwar Rizvi, Renata Holod, Sussan Barbaie, James L. Wescoat, Jr. and Margaret S. Graves.
Sunday April 15, 2012
Grandeur and finery
By OOI KOK CHUEN
The travelling show from the Aga Khan Museum presents functional items and devotional paeans.
MUCH of the appeal of the 100 artefacts in the Treasures Of The Aga Khan Museum exhibition lies in their innate beauty and rarity, and the wonder they evoke while throbbing with the pulses of Muslim civilisation.
The objects of grandeur and finery are representations of Islamic architecture, with its myriad nuances in philosophy, spirituality, intellect, way of life, literature, arts and culture, from the ninth century to the 18th century.
Entertainment In A Palace, signed ‘Faizullah’ Faizabad, India, circa 1765-1770.
With the subtext, “Architecture In Islamic Arts”, the show, currently on at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, comprises selected works which represent a 10% component of the great Islamic repository of the Aga Khan and his family.
It is a rare opportunity to glimpse and marvel at part of the famed Aga Khan treasures. If nothing else, it will whet the appetite for the inevitable grand feast when the Aga Khan Museum makes its scheduled official opening at its permanent home on a 10,000sqm structure in Toronto, Canada, in October 2013. The museum complex, a fount of elegant austerity, is designed by Fumihiko Maki, the 1993 winner of the Pritzker Prize (for architecture).
This exhibition has chalked up stops at prestigious venues like the Louvre in Paris, with the last two being the Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, and The Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia.
The travelling repertoire includes ornamental doors with Sufi inscriptions from ninth century Iran; an iridescent wooden door inlaid with mother-of-pearl and metal fittings (Gujerat, India, 18th century); stalactite-like Muqarnas carved wooden “chandelier” inversely reflected on the floor mirrors (Islamic Spain, 15th/16th centuries); rare Spanish Umayyads bronze lamp and carved marble capitals (Eastern Syria or Iraq, 13th century and Islamic Spain, circa 950-970); Iznik tiles from 16th century Turkey with one that is star shaped and another in fused five hexagonal tiles (15th century); a tabouret ceramic stand (Iran, c.1170-1200) and an Andalusian Spain cast bronze lamp holder (10th century).
Other interesting functional items include a kilga (porous clay jar stand) carved marble “water filter” from the River Nile (Egypt, 12th century); a candle stand with repousee designs (Iran or Afghanistan, 12th/13th centuries); a red Moroccan leather with gilt tooling (Turkey, late 16th/early 17th centuries); a 17th century Iranian silk wrap and weft carpet; mudejar wooden corbels (Toledo, Spain, 14th century), and two cast-copper alloy inkwells (12th/13th centuries).
Carved marble Kilga (jar stand) from Egypt (probably Cairo), possibly from the 12th century.
More than half of the works are folios from manuscripts, ranging from parchments to paper (including coloured and marbled), which in later periods were mostly illustrated like miniature paintings.
These are both poetry and prayers – devotional paeans in embellished angular Kufic scripts which glorify God and spread the religious doctrines, but they can focus on mundane everyday life, like a marketplace fight, as shown in one exhibit at this Kuala Lumpur stop.
Some are single-page/double-page works, dispersed or in bound albums from the epigraphy of the Anwar-I Suhayli (Light Of Canopus); Kulliyat (Collected Works) of Sa’di, Shahnama of Firdawsi; Falnama (Book Of Divinities), Dalail Al-Khajrat, Akbarnama (Book Of Akbar); Akhlaq-I Nasiri (Ethics Of Nasir), Tuhfet Ul-Leta’if (Gifts Of Curiosities) and the mystical romance of Khamsa (Quintet) of Nizami.
There is also an illuminated double-page frontispiece, Diwan of Sultan Ibrahim Mirza (Iran, 1582-1583).
Chased and beaten brass candlestick with Repouseé Designs Khurasan (north-eastern Iran/Afghanistan)
Entertainment In A Palace (Faizabad, India, c. 1765-1770) provides interesting insights into place life from a bird’s-eye view perspective. There is also a still-life oil on canvas, from Qajar, Iran (19th century).
The most valuable item in the collection is the Folio 53v of the manuscript, the Shahnama of Firdawsi titled Salm And Tur Receive The Reply Of Faridun And Manuchihr, on fratricidal intrigue (opaque watercolour, ink, gold and silver on paper, Tabriz, Iran, c. 1522-1535). It is one of five illustrations created for Shah Tahmasp.
The inscriptions are also on ceramic tiles (glazed fritware with polychrome underglaze painting and lustre overglaze decoration) and wooden beams and steles (oak, plane-tree wood, sycamore, pine and teak).
The exhibition’s orientation is not chronological or geographical, but the exhibits on show are grouped under six categories, namely Sacred Topographies; Religious and Funerary Architecture; the Fortress and the City; the Gardens; Pavilion and Tents, and the Written Word.
It shows that despite Islam being monotheistic, it is greatly enriched with a startling pluralism, artistic merit and syncretic infusions like the Hispano-Mauresque in Spain. Islamic cultures have evolved and progressed greatly from diverse places, like from the Iberian peninsula and the Maghrib to South-East Asia and China, within a time frame of over a millennium.
The exhibition offers glimpses into the turbulence of medieval societies with the enclosed palisades for spheres of influence and administrative hubs.
Muqarnas element Islamic Spain (carved wood, from late 15th or 16th century).
The exhibition offers glimpses into the turbulence of medieval societies with the enclosed palisades for spheres of influence and administrative hubs, from different periods like the Mongol/Safavid/Samanid Iran, Fatimid/Tulunid/Mamluk Egypt, Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India.
There is also an interactive Children’s Corner at the exhibition.
The Aga Khan, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community. The 75-year-old is most noted for initiating the eponymous award for architecture, which has been given out in three-year cycles since 1977.
Six buildings in Malaysia have won the Aga Khan Architecture Award. They are the Petronas Twin Towers (in KL), Tanjung Jara Beach Hotel (Terengganu), Menara Mesiniaga (Selangor), Salinger Residence (Selangor), The Datai (Langkawi, Kedah), and Universiti Teknologi Petronas (Perak).
> Treasures Of The Aga Khan Museum is on show till June 29 at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Jalan Lembah Perdana, Kuala Lumpur.
Viewing from 10am to 6pm daily; admission fees apply. For more information, call 03-22742020 or visit iamm.org.my.
Tuesday June 12, 2012
Priceless Aga Khan artefacts go on show
KUALA LUMPUR: Visitors to the Aga Khan collection being showcased at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysian (IAMM) were awestruck by the large range of items on display.
Among the most notable is a miniature folio from 15th century Spain, glazed turquoise earthenware from late 14th century Central Asia, tiled arches from 15th century Egypt and decorated doors from 9th century Iran.
“As an architecture student, I have always wanted to attend an Aga Khan exhibition and I have finally got the chance. It is a dream come true,'' said Grace Jung from South Korea who was here on holiday.
The exhibits were collected by Aga Khan and his family over half a century.
The exhibition has six themes: Sacred Typographies, Religious and Funerary Architecture, The Fortress and the City, The Palace, The Garden, Pavilions and Tents and Architecture and the Written Word.
“This travelling exhibition was first shown in Russia in November and our last destination will be Singapore before it will be displayed at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto next year,” said IAMM collection manager from the Curatorial Affairs Department Rekha Varma.
Sight to behold: Visitors admiring the collection at the IAMM in Kuala Lumpur.
Hossien Taji from Iran said that he knew about the exhibition from the tourism centre.
“It is wonderful experience for me to witness the collection of a well-known person. the art is simply mind blowing.” said Hossein who is studying at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
The Aga Khan travelling exhibition is organised by the Aga Khan Foundation and ends on June 29.
Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic Arts
19 Jul 2012 - 28 Oct 2012
@ Special Exhibitions Gallery, ACM Empress Place
The Aga Khan is the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community. This exhibition affords a unique opportunity for the public in Singapore to view some of the treasures in the major collection of Islamic art created by Prince Karim Aga Khan IV.
The complex architectural traditions of the Islamic world will be explored through a hundred objects drawn from Iran, India, Turkey, Syria, Spain, and Egypt. Works of art in metal, wood, and pottery, as well as paintings and textiles covering more than a thousand years of artistic production will be on display. The exhibition considers the different concepts of space in both religious and secular environments, and visitors can learn about the diverse artistic traditions of Islamic architecture.
The exhibition will be accompanied by contextual photographs to illustrate the historical background and inspiration behind the artistic forms. A fully illustrated catalogue written by experts will also be available.
Organised by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Asian Civilisations Museum; Generously sponsored by Dr Reshma and Mr Aziz Merchant
“Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum” Exhibition Opens in Singapore
Photos: Exhibition Opening
Link to the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore
Singapore, 18 July 2012 – “Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in the Islamic World” was opened today by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore’s Minster for Information, Communications and the Arts, and Prince Amyn Aga Khan, at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. The exhibition will run from 19 July to 28 October 2012.
The exhibition, which follows the theme of similar exhibitions staged in St. Petersburg and Kuala Lumpur, nevertheless frames the paintings and objects related to architecture in innovative ways, including five-metre-high reproductions of details from miniatures, an iPad-driven interactive display that allows visitors to create geometric artworks typical of Islamic art, and a 15th / 16th century muqarnas mounted over a mirror that enables viewers to examine the architectural element in a new way.
“Islamic Architecture is one of the most visible aspects of Islamic culture,” said Dr. Alan Chong, director of the Asian Civilisations Museum. He hoped that “visitors will gain new insights into the history and creativity of the Islamic world.”
The exhibition is divided into five sections: The Fortress and the City, which features architectural elements and depictions of fortified towns; Sacred Typographies, which explores the sites and monuments of Islamic pilgrimage through paintings and drawings; Religious and Funerary Architecture, which examines mosques and commemorative shrines; The Palace, which looks at the residences of royal families; and Gardens, Pavilions and Tents, which examines palace life when it is extended into nature.
Since 2007, items from the Aga Khan Museum collection have been exhibited at key museums in Europe and Asia, drawing over 1.5 million visitors. The collection will later go on permanent display at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada.
SINGAPORE: An exhibition showcasing over 1,000 years of Islamic art and architecture is now open at the Asian Civilisations Museum.
Called Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum, it boasts more than 100 works of art and architecture from six countries including Iran and Turkey.
Some of the artworks include paintings, manuscript illumination and hajj certificates.
The exhibition aims to reveal how Muslim artists perceived the Islamic built environment.
It also offers insights into some of the great Islamic dynasties.
Clement Onn, curator, cross-cultural art, Asian Civilisations Museum, said: "This exhibition coincides nicely with Ramadan and it presents a great opportunity for Muslims in Singapore to reconnect with Islamic cultures.
"It also presents a great opportunity for many Singaporeans and Southeast Asians living in this part of the region to get a better understanding of Islamic cultures and art."
Exhibition showcasing over 1000 years of Islamic art and architecture opens at the Asian Civilisations Museum
SINGAPORE.- The Asian Civilisations Museum presents an exhibition of works of art from the Aga Khan Museum. Featuring masterpieces of Islamic art and architecture spanning many centuries and from regions around the world, Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Architecture in Islamic Arts are on display at the ACM from 19 July to 28 October 2012. Architecture, with tiled and gilt domes, shaded courtyards, and inscribed gates, became a natural expression of Islam. The exhibition reveals how Muslim artists perceived the Islamic built environment.
Over 100 objects, ranging from manuscript illumination, paintings, and architectural elements to hajj certificates and tiles decorated with passages from the Qur‟an, illustrate ideas of space and decoration in both religious and secular environments. The exhibition offers insights into some of the great Islamic dynasties: the al-Andalus of the Iberian Peninsula; Ilkhanid, Timurid, and Safavid Iran; Ottoman Turkey; and Mughal India.
ACM sets a colourful new record
Saturday, Sep 08, 2012
The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) set a new record today for Singapore's largest chalk art.
Over 200 visitors created a sprawling mosaic of colourful geometric patterns inspired by Islamic art in this record-breaking flash art activity.
Measuring 12 metres by 16.8 metres, with a total area of 201.6 square metres, Chalk It Up! covered the entire ACM courtyard and successfully broke the previous record of 168.96 square metres, held by Fajar Secondary School in 2010.
The event was part of the Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum Weekend Festival, which also showcased Iranian dances, accompanied by mysterious and fanciful pari (fairies) by the internationally renowned Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC).
The exhibition is on display at the ACM until Oct 28.
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