History goes under the hammer as London celebrates Islamic art

Updated 27 April 2018
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History goes under the hammer as London celebrates Islamic art

  • Leading auction houses this week embarked on an 1,800-year artistic odyssey with treasures from across the region
  • A painting by the late Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said fetched the highest bid £633,000

LONDON: For aficionados of Middle Eastern art, London was the place to be this week. During the biannual Islamic Art Week, the big auction houses held sales of everything from antiquities to modern-art installations, with many works receiving well above their estimates.

Sotheby’s 20th Century Art/Middle East on Tuesday featured two Saudi artists, Ahmed Mater and Maha Malluh, alongside works by  Morocco’s Farid Belkahia, Lebanon’s Paul Guiragossian, Iraq’s Shakir Hassan Al-Said and Syria’s Louai Kayali. A painting by the late Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said, often a record-setter at auctions of Arab art, fetched the highest bid: “Adam and Eve,” at £633,000 (it was estimated at £300,00-£500,000). 

The same day, Sotheby’s held the seventh season of its Orientalist Sale, with Edwin Lord Weeks’ painting “Rabat (The Red Gate)” drawing the highest bid at £573,000, above its estimate of £200,000-£300,000.

At Bonham’s, a pair of gold pendant earrings from the collection of Maharani Jindan Kaur, the mother of the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab, sold for £175,000, eight times the original estimate. 

At Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World auction on Wednesday, an Iznik pottery flask raised the highest price, £669,000, well above the estimated £60,000-£80,000.

The Christie’s auction on Thursday featured Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, including Oriental rugs and carpets. A rare palimpsest of a Qur’an written over an earlier Coptic text, thought to be from Egypt and to date back to the second century, was bought for £596,750.


Exhibition showcases expansions of Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah

Those wishing to see the exhibition must send a request confirming the date of the visit, which can be from Sunday to Thursday. (SPA)
Updated 19 August 2018
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Exhibition showcases expansions of Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah

  • During the Saudi era, the mosque witnessed a great expansion during the reign of King Abdul Aziz in 1953
  • The mosque’s ongoing expansion is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to provide as many pilgrims as possible with the opportunity to easily perform their rituals

JEDDAH: An exhibition in Madinah, organized by the General Presidency of the Prophet’s Mosque, is showcasing the mosque’s expansions since its establishment by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
“The exhibition, in the southern part of the mosque, highlights its expansions throughout history with 50 paintings, photographs, presentations, models and documentaries in Arabic and English,” said Faez Al-Faez, the exhibition’s director.
“The exhibition also includes copies of manuscripts, a model of the Prophet’s ring, photos of his letters and 200-year-old Qur’ans,” he added.
“The exhibition includes the most important books about Madinah, and a hall where visitors are shown a 20-minute video about the stages during which the mosque witnessed expansions since the prophet’s era,” Al-Faez said.
“The Prophet Muhammad was the first to expand the mosque in 628, followed by Caliph Omar bin Al-Khattab in 638. The mosque was later expanded in the years 651, 710, 778, 782, 1483, 1849 and 1861,” he added.
“During the Saudi era, the mosque witnessed a great expansion during the reign of King Abdul Aziz in 1953,” Al-Faez said.
“The expansions and development projects continued until King Salman ordered the completion of the expansion of the eastern and western sides in 2015,” he added.
“King Salman’s interest in this matter reflects the attention and keenness of the kings of Saudi Arabia to serve the visitors of Madinah, especially those visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, which holds a special place in the hearts of all Muslims,” Al-Faez said.
“The mosque’s ongoing expansion is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to provide as many pilgrims as possible with the opportunity to easily perform their rituals,” he added.
Those wishing to see the exhibition must send a request confirming the date of the visit, which can be from Sunday to Thursday.
Visitors praised the details of the mosque’s construction and expansions, and commended the Kingdom’s constant efforts since the reign of its founder King Abdul Aziz to take care of and expand the mosque.