Work has been underway to carry out the Museum of Islamic Art project in Qatar, the first of its kind in the Arabian Gulf. The QR 800 million project is expected to be one of the notable landmarks in Islamic antiquities and museums worldwide.
Designed by world-famous architect Leoh Ming Pei, the project, which is aimed to be a major source of information on Islamic antiquities, is set to be ready by 2006.
Pei, a Chinese-American architect, who designed the(controversial glass) pyramid in the Louvre.
The project, 45000 square meters, is situated on the southern part of Doha's seafront (Corniche) on an artificial island about 60 meters off the coast of Doha. A crescent cape has been added to the Island to act as a northward tidal barrier and to block the eastward industrial buildings from the view.
Exploiting nature's organic patterns combined with the minute man-made designs of this artificial island has rendered the location an ideal one, and visible from all directions. It emerges time-defyingly from waters in such romantic surroundings as a cultural and educational center of Qatar's capital, Doha.
The museum, which consists of many sections, overlooks Doha's lagoon from the west and it has its own marinas providing mooring for guests lit with flood lights 20 meters high which are visible from quite a long distance across the lagoon.
The museum, whose architecture has been inspired by Islamic motifs, consists of many sections, among others:
1-Main exhibition halls.
2-Exhibition halls for studies.
3-Temporary exhibition halls.
The center comprises a reading hall supplied with equipment designed for accommodating children.
The museum will also serve as an educational institution offering support to local schools and providing facilities for research scholars from within Qatar and from overseas. The Islamic Museum will display the Qatar National Collection of Islamic Art _ a world class collection of ceramics, metalwork, jewelry, woodwork, glass and other items made in countries all over the Islamic World from medieval Spain to Central Asia and India.
Exhibitions will include a wide array of luxurious, well-preserved artifacts of ivory and silk, some of which are more than 600 years old, that belong to Islamic Art style manifested in their inscriptions and arabesque. Such motifs stem from the arts of countries and empires which had converted to Islam between the 13th-century to the 18th-century.
Some the intricately made models of ivory trunks and horns, and other artifacts which date back to the Middle Ages are merely masterpieces that ancient artisans must have patiently bent over backward to endow it with their aesthetic skills.
Although elementary materials were used to make such artifacts, they are still wonderful examples of the power and patience of ancient artists and artisans to come up with amazing works of arts.
As for the silk artifacts, they come from various resources and were used for various purposes. Guests of the museum will be able to view a piece of an imperial silk pavilion decorated with Quranic verses. Also there will be on display a robe made of silk and gold threads, and rugs woven of silk and gold as well with all its patterns intricately inspired by nature and its aesthetics and fascinating colors.
The museum will be an experience to read the art of Islamic civilization which has left its indelible fingerprints on human civilization.