History of Art

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Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Since I was a child, I wasn’t really interested in our culture, traditions and customs. I’ve been going to an English school my whole life and did not take Arabic or Islamic classes. I lived like a foreigner in my own country. I remember when I used to shop and ask for a specific item, the saleslady would stare at me and asked if I was Qatari. I would reply: “Yes I am” with a smile on my face seeing her astonished expression.

In 2008 a museum opened here in Doha. It’s all about Islamic architecture. It was the first in the Middle East and contains many spectacular Islamic arts. The museum also has a library and many restaurants. It is located on the edge of Doha harbour. The man who designed it took about six months to travel and learn about the Muslim world.

The entrance is beautiful, with all the palm trees on your right and left-hand side with winds blowing through them. And let’s not forget the water fountain, hearing the sound of little drops splash into the water and rise again. You walk up ahead and turn to your left and see these high buildings that weren’t there years ago, this gives me the feeling of pride.

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The interior is amazingly designed with Islamic patterns, and when I got to the third floor and look down there’s this wonderful view of the whole building from inside. The way I.M. Pei designed the steps is rather intriguing. My personal favourite was the ceiling! When I stood near the steps and looked up, I was awestruck.

The works on display were stunning indeed. I loved the warm lighting and feel of the room. The collection of objects really suited the theme of the museum. In our religion, the colour green is the colour of heaven. I saw two masterful pieces, the green dagger and the green necklace. The handle of the dagger was made beautifully with olive green marble, covered with tiny flowers which had ruby stones. The dagger looked very sharp and had a green cover. The start and end of the cover were gold with beautiful details. As for the necklace, it was truly amazing, made out of gold with white pearls all around it, and then came dangling stones which looked like transparent marbles but with a touch of green. There was another set of dangling marbles which were medium forest green and had little bubbles in them. The marble in the middle was a little lighter in colour than the other, but seeing it as a whole makes you want to own one.

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Overall, I really liked what I saw. The museum was pretty neat and clean. The setting and the way the objects were placed caught my attention the most. Every time you enter a room there is a different smell and feeling. It’s a lovely place to visit; I would totally recommend it to newcomers.

More information here.