Sana'a, Yemen, March 2010
Islamic Art and March Musings
I have in the last couple of months visited the new Museum of Islamic Art in Doha and the private collection of Nasser D. Khalili at the Institut du Monde Islamique in Paris. Both are excellent. The I.M.Pei designed building in Doha has been widely lauded and indeed is quite stunning, an avowedly 21st century interpretation of the 9th century rabats of North Africa, also located on the sea.
The collection has exceptional examples of calligraphy, tiling, illustrated Qurans, jewelry, carpets, manuscripts, weaponry, scientific instruments, astrolabes, ceramics and bronzework. Doha itself I found sightly surreal; the city has some outstanding modern architecture which doesn't get the hype Dubai's towering edifices generate but which I thought were quite singular, but the Qatari capital seemed to have been emptied of its populace. The streets, malls and restaurants were curiously and conspicuously lacking in shoppers and diners - where was everyone?