International Day of Islamic Art: Explore the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 18 November 2020

International Day of Islamic Art: Explore the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

DUBAI: In honor of the International Day of Islamic Art on Nov. 18, we have picked out some of the highlights of the UAE’s Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.

Bowl art

This type of early Islamic artwork was inspired by luxury wares imported from Iraq and China.

The calligraphy in the middle of this bowl is done in a style that resembles the early Islamic Kufic writing found on Iraqi vessels. Its letters, however, have not yet been decoded, and experts say it is possible that they are simply intended to evoke an inscription decoratively rather than form an actual word.


In the 10th and 11th centuries AD, the eastern parts of the Islamic world produced an array of high-quality ceramics, and one technique involved the use of liquid clay slips.

Working in white, black-brown and sometimes red, this was used to cover the reddish earthenware vessels with a uniform base color, on to which decorative schemes were applied in contrasting hues before glazing.

This bowl shows a white floriated Kufic inscription, which conveys blessing, displayed against a dark brown background. This was less common than the dark engravings against a creamy-white ground.

Unglazed wares

Unglazed ceramics were the most common products of Islamic pottery, a fact often forgotten with the art-historical emphasis on glazed wares today.

This bottle is constructed from several parts – the upper and lower bodies that are formed from two different moulds. Similar vessels were produced all around the Middle East during the 12th and 14th centuries.

Experts say that the iconographic details on this artwork, such as the lions’ bodies, seem to be inspired by 10th century rock crystal carvings in Egypt.

These animal artworks were also seen on unglazed wares in Syria and Northern Iraq during the 13th-century.

Lustre vases

Since its invention in Iraq during the 9th century, the complex overglaze technique had been the expertise of potters.

The success and continuity of their expensive work depended not only on the availability of raw materials and purpose-built kilns, but also on high-class patronage. Whenever political and economic instability jeopardized these, the potters moved on in search of better conditions, so that by the 12th century the lustre technique had spread from Iraq to Egypt and Syria.


The influence of blue-and-white porcelain, imported from China, pervaded Islamic ceramics between the 15th and 17th centuries.

Bottles such as this one painted with black strokes against a blue background were produced both to compete with Chinese imports locally, and to supply markets in Southeast Asia and Europe, particularly when Chinese porcelain became unavailable for political or economic reasons.

Oil Lamp

This copper alloy oil lamp served as a reading lamp, according to experts. Its bulbous body was designed to provide oil for a long period of uninterrupted light.

Some of these vessels bear inscriptions that identify their owners as members of the scholastic stratum of society – men of letters, theologians or teachers of religious law – all of whom would have spent much of their day studying manuscripts, reading and writing.

Kim Kardashian West can’t get enough of this part-Arab designer

Updated 01 December 2020

Kim Kardashian West can’t get enough of this part-Arab designer

DUBAI: Kim Kardashian West loves her some Amina Muaddi heels. 

Whether she’s sporting the brand’s Lupita sandals for an at-home photo shoot or celebrating hitting 190 million followers on Instagram wearing the Holli slingbacks, the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star often champions pieces from the Jordanian-Romanian footwear designer.

This week, the reality television star and entrepreneur was recently spotted wearing a design from the Paris-based brand yet again. 

Kardashian West posted a series of snaps on Instagram  in which she’s wearing a bold outfit — complete with glistening blue, leather trousers and a fitted turtleneck top — which she accessorized with a pair of Muaddi’s in-demand heels.

The heels she picked out were the Jordanian-Romanian designer’s Begum glass pumps in blue, featuring a starburst buckle detail on the shoe’s vamp and the brand’s signature flared heel. 

Kardashian West championed theItaly-made brand just a couple of weeks after Muaddi made her foray into handbags and jewelry. The designer unveiled two entirely new creations, a satin handbag and crystal-embellished earrings alongside her Fall 2020 collection of shoes.

 The celebrity-loved footwear designer first announced the news that she would be expanding her footwear empire with a range of handbags titled Aminis in September via a series of images of the new bags being manufactured.

Muaddi’s cult brand has garnered a loyal following of famous fans, including Dua Lipa, Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin Bieber among many others.

Her most famous collaboration to date is the limited-edition footwear capsule collection with multi-hyphenate superstar Rihanna’s Fenty, which dropped in July. 

The 34-year-old recently dropped her second footwear collection with Fenty following the sellout success of the first Amina Muaddi x Fenty line.

The partnership is set to be honored as Collaborator of the Year at the upcoming 34th edition of the FN Achievement Awards, which is set to go virtual on Dec. 8. 

Previous recipients of the Collaborator of the Year honor at the annual FN Achievement Awards – often called the “Shoe Oscars” – have included Tommy Hilfiger and Kith’s Ronnie Fieg.