Diriyah sculpture brings historic Saudi horse to life

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A life-size sculpture of Turfa, the Arabian mare presented by King Abdul Aziz to Britain’s King George VI as a coronation gift in 1937, is offering Saudis a ride into the past at its new home in Diriyah. (Supplied)
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A life-size sculpture of Turfa, the Arabian mare presented by King Abdul Aziz to Britain’s King George VI as a coronation gift in 1937, is offering Saudis a ride into the past at its new home in Diriyah. (Supplied)
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A life-size sculpture of Turfa, the Arabian mare presented by King Abdul Aziz to Britain’s King George VI as a coronation gift in 1937, is offering Saudis a ride into the past at its new home in Diriyah. (Supplied)
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A life-size sculpture of Turfa, the Arabian mare presented by King Abdul Aziz to Britain’s King George VI as a coronation gift in 1937, is offering Saudis a ride into the past at its new home in Diriyah. (Supplied)
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Updated 26 February 2020

Diriyah sculpture brings historic Saudi horse to life

  • Made of bronze and weighing more than 444.5 kg, the spectacular sculpture is the work of leading American artist Karen Kasper

RIYADH: A life-size sculpture of Turfa, the Arabian mare presented by King Abdul Aziz to Britain’s King George VI as a coronation gift in 1937, is offering Saudis a ride into the past at its new home in Diriyah.

Made of bronze and weighing more than 444.5 kg, the spectacular sculpture is the work of leading American artist Karen Kasper, who took four years to complete the project.

After a six-week transfer from the sculptor’s studio to the Kingdom, Turfa became the latest addition to the heritage collection in Diriyah Arabian Horse Museum.

Princess Noura Al-Saud, head of the project and a culture and heritage specialist with the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, told Arab News: “This is the first life-size sculpture of King Abdul Aziz’s horse. It’s invaluable.”

Jerry Inzerillo, the authority’s CEO, said: “The Kingdom has always used the horse as an ambassador and a gift of goodwill.

“When people think about Arabian horses, they have good thoughts, positive thoughts — and that’s why the gift of the horse to countries not only preserves our culture and heritage, but also shows generosity.”

Richard Oppenheim, the UK’s deputy ambassador to the Kingdom, said that the Saudi royal family and their British counterparts shared a love of horses.

“The Queen has many horses, and King Salman and the Saudi royal family also have long-held love of horses,” he said.

King Abdul Aziz presented Turfa to King George VI in 1937 in appreciation for the hospitality he received during a visit to England on behalf of his father in 1919. 

“There is a UK-Saudi connection because this particular horse was given to the British monarch at that time” Oppenheim said.

Prince Abdullah Bin Fahd, president of the Saudi Equestrian Federation, said that Turfa “is not only a noble mare but also a symbol of the generosity and authenticity of the people of the Arabian Peninsula.”

Arabian horses are a central part of the Kingdom’s history and civilization, he said.

“It’s enough to know that King Abdul Aziz was the last person in modern history who rode horses in his task to establish the state.”

The sculpture will be on view in the Arabian Horse Museum in Al-Turaif, a UNESCO world heritage site.


Over 100 COVID-19 patients treated with blood plasma in Saudi Arabia

A lab technician freeze packs donated convalescent plasma donated by recovered COVID-19 patients. (AFP)
Updated 04 July 2020

Over 100 COVID-19 patients treated with blood plasma in Saudi Arabia

  • Health Ministry records 2,291 critical COVID-19 cases, deaths toll reaches 1,802

JEDDAH: More than 100 people infected with the coronavirus have been treated through blood plasma samples from patients who have recovered from the virus, the Saudi Ministry of Health said on Friday.

The initiative is part of a study involving several research centers in the Kingdom, with 512 donors from Riyadh, Eastern Province, Jeddah and Madinah. This indicates the Saudi community is highly invested in supporting the treatment.
The ministry said that blood plasma contains antibodies that help the body to heal. When a patient recovers, his plasma is used on an infected person, which can form a defense against the virus, especially as a cure is yet to be discovered.
The blood plasma treatment has been used before in China and other countries, but its efficacy levels have not been tested through documented clinical studies.
Saudi Arabia approved the initiative early in April and a team was assembled from the ministry, National Guard Hospitals, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Armed Forces Hospital, university hospitals, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, as well as from the private sector.
The ministry confirmed that the research team was working around the clock to expand the initiative’s scope and launch it across the Kingdom by acquiring donors, which is done through Twitter and via email or phone.
To date the official website has had 14,000 visitors, inside and outside the Kingdom, who have showed interest in the study.
Initial tests of the plasma’s antibodies, health history, vital signs and diagnosis are taken before treatment begins.

FASTFACTS

• The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 201,801.

• The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom reached 140,614.

Donors need to pass these tests for their plasma sample to be used on a COVID-19 patient safely. After that the recovering patient’s progress is monitored to further the research and determine its potency.
The donated plasma sample, usually amounting to 400ml to 700ml, is reliant on the donor’s weight and health. The sample is treated in blood banks to reduce microbes and put into two bags, each working as a single treatment dose. Patients are then treated with a single bag each day, and treatment is usually over a maximum of five days.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom recorded 50 new COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, raising the total number to 1,802.
There were 4,193 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 201,801 people have now contracted the disease. There are 59,385 active cases; 2,291 of them are in critical condition.
According to the Health Ministry, 431 of the newly recorded cases were in Dammam, while Al-Hofuf recorded 399 and Riyadh recorded 383.
The ministry also announced that 2,945 more patients had recovered from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 140,614.
The ministry urges those who have come into contact with an infected person to immediately isolate themselves and call 937.