Sunday, December 19, 2010

Take Your Pick: The al-Sabah Collection

The al-Sabah Collection has over 22,000 objects from the Islamic world. Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah's website has provided a selection of images of the objects. They are divided into nine categories:

1. Arts of the Book
2. Ceramics
3. Glass
4. Ivory and Wood
5. Jewelery and Jeweled objects
6. Metalwork
7. Numismatics 
8. Rugs and Textiles
9. Stone and Stucco 

I want you to take your pick from the collection and tell me what object interests you and would want to know more about. I will try my best to write up a post dedicated to the object you picked! 

This will make it a fun way for you to discover the objects and learn how vast and comprehensive The al-Sabah Collection of Islamic art is.

Just leave a comment with the number of the object: LNS number(s) letter(s).

UPDATED: Upcoming Events!

Monday, December 20, 2010  

Piano Recital
Bartek Rybak

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Music Circle Concert
Al Majd Omani Group
Omani Folklore songs and dance.

Hope to see you at the events!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Souq al-Maidan!

Join us this Saturday, 18th December at DAI's museum shop for a one day sale you won't want to miss! Bring your friends and family!

Upcoming Events!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Arabic Lecture
د. أيمن فؤاد السيد 
التطور العمراني لمدينة القاهرة

(For more info. click on the image)

Hope to see you at the event!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Unfortunately the lecture for tomorrow Monday 6th December 2010 is cancelled. Dr. Juan Souto was unable to travel from Madrid because of the airport/airspace strike.

Also the musical concert on Monday 13th December 2010 is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

DAI apologizes for the cancellations but not to worry Cultural Season 16 has many more lectures and musical concerts coming up!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cultural Season 16: Ivory

This Cultural Season's theme is dedicated to ivory from Islamic lands. The brochure for CS16 has images of several ivory pieces from The al-Sabah Collection.  

Ivory was considered a very valuable and luxurious commodity. Early craftsmen mostly used elephant ivory from East Africa.

If you have a copy of CS16’s brochure, have you wondered what the ivory object on the cover was?

This ivory piece is part of a sword hilt—the grip. It dates to the 14th century from Spain. It is elephant ivory and is carved and decorated with inscriptions and arabesques. Throughout the Muslim world, there was a unity in style of Islamic ivory work; from Spain and Sicily in Europe, to the Near East. Geometry and perfect symmetry were important elements. This is evident in the vegetal designs and organic patterns in this particular object [1].
Images: [1]
This sword grip is hollow and the ornamented section is thicker than the rest of the object. The sizes of ivory objects were limited because of the nature of this material. Judging from the cover image you wouldn’t be able to guess the size of this ivory piece. But this sword grip is 10.00 cm in length, and the width is 4.00 cm. 

Images: [2] An example of another sword with an ivory hilt; also from The al-Sabah Collection.

Even after the fall of the Arab rule in Cordoba, carved ivory remained popular in Spain to the 14th century.  That period of Arab rule had a great influence on craft traditions in that region.

-Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah's Cultural Season 16 Brochure.
-The al-Sabah Collection's Database. 
[1] "Ivory: A History and Collector's Guide", (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1987), 190. 

[1] LNS 20 I from The al-Sabah Collection, carved elephant ivory grip from the hilt of a sword with pious inscriptions. probably Granada, Spain, 8th century AH/14th century AD.  
[2] LNS 37 I from The al-Sabah Collection, carved from walrus ivory; inlaid with gold. length 110 mm; width 39 mm. probably Deccan, Bijapur, dated AH 1044/AD 1634. 

Upcoming Events!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Juan A. Souto
Dr. Juan Antonio Souto is a professor of Islamic History at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and vice president of the European Union of European Arabists and Islamists. He specializes in Arabic and Islamic studies.

Lecture: The Aljaferia of Saragossa: Between Cordova and Marrakech 

Saragossa was the capital of one of the most flourishing ta'ifa kingdoms to come out of the dismantling of the Umayyad Caliphate of Cordova, in Al-Andalus. The city is located in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. A qasr was built at Saragossa, which was named al-Ja'fariyya ("Aljaferia").  The architectural style from al-Ja'fariyya was later adopted by North African  dynastys, Almoravids and Almohads.

Al-Ja'fariyya became a key piece to the architecture and decorative arts of Western Islam--a "bridge" between Cordova, capital of the Andalusi Umayyad Caliphate, and Marrakech, capital of the Almoravid and Almohad empires.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book Club
Discussion: Arabic Novel in Translation
(To find out more about DAI's Book Club please visit our website.)

Hope to see you at the events!

"Traditional Arab Music for Orchestra"

The crowd on the night of the concert on Monday was nothing like I have seen before. In addition to many of DAI’s friends and members, the crowd consisted mostly of family and friends of the musicians and students performing; as well as teachers and VIPs from the Music Department.

Each audience member received a pamphlet; which gave an introduction to the Music department at the College of Basic Education operated by the Public Authority for Applied Education & Training. The pamphlet also included the program for the night.

The Music department from the College of Basic Education P.A.A.T. was established in 1986. It offers students training in all music styles and genres and graduates will receive a Bachelor in Music Science and Education.

The magnificent performance prepared for Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah was arranged and conducted by the maestro Dr. Abdulla Al-Masry. It combined music from Arab and international work with a “touch of Kuwaiti spirit.” The Arab songs were presented in the form of an orchestra, including western instruments and Arabic instruments; as well as a choir performance. It was a special night because that night was the first night the students performed off campus.

The concert included instrumental pieces, solos sung by students and opera singers Dr. Mahmoud Faraj and Dr. Hanan Al Gundi. Most of the night concentrated on the student choir. There wonderful voices which echoed in the auditorium were expressive and harmonious. The biggest surprise was when Dr. Abdulla Al-Masry explained how the college is segregated and he had to train the women choir and the men choir separately, and that tonight was their first performance together!

With talent like that, Kuwait’s music scene has a bright future.

One of the speakers of the night explained how music is an “international language,” and I couldn’t agree more. The musical performance was enjoyed by Arabic and non-Arabic speakers. You didn’t have to understand the lyrics; the music spoke for itself.

I was proud and honored to have been in the presence of such great young talent from Kuwait.