June, 2024

UAE Museums Celebrate International Museum Day with Diverse Cultural Heritage Exhibits

Dubai: On International Museum Day, museums across the UAE are showcasing the rich tapestry of human history, reflecting the diversity and cultural heritage of Arab and global civilizations. These institutions serve as a bridge between the past and the present, featuring a wide array of archaeological and artistic collections that narrate the stories of peoples and civilizations.

At the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, the “Treasures of the Library” exhibition displays over 300 rare books, atlases, and ancient manuscripts, some dating back to the 13th century. This exhibition underscores the vital role of museums in preserving cultural heritage and passing it on to future generations. With its unique design and precious contents, it provides an engaging educational experience in line with International Museum Day’s goal of fostering cultural and intellectual exchange.

Showcasing Literary Masterpieces

The exhibition includes the complete works of William Shakespeare, featuring the first edition of his edited works printed in London in 1632. Other highlights include “Shahnameh,” the renowned Persian epic, Dante’s “The Divine Comedy,” a cornerstone of Italian literature, and Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables.” This remarkable collection exemplifies the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library’s commitment to preserving and sharing literary and cultural treasures across generations.

Rare Quranic Manuscripts

Among the exhibition’s prized items are 40 rare copies of the Holy Quran and approximately 40 other rare Quranic pieces, both manuscript and printed. These include some of the oldest examples of parchment written on leather and beautifully handwritten Quran manuscripts. The collection features the earliest translations of the Quran into various languages, each noted for their unique designs and advanced writing techniques.

One notable piece is a Quran from the Qajar era, written in Naskh script and decorated by artist Reza Sani Humayun. The exhibition also includes a Quran from the Mughal era, dating back to the 11th century, and a large Quran from the Ottoman era, adorned with intricate floral designs and gilded frames.

Atlases and Historical Maps

The exhibition also features first prints of books detailing journeys to the Arabian Peninsula and descriptions of the Middle East, along with European and Ottoman maps from the 15th to 19th centuries. Highlights include a colored and gilded Ptolemy map from 1482 and Frederik de Wit’s composite “Atlas Maior,” printed in Amsterdam between 1680-1686. This atlas represents the Dutch Golden Age’s prosperous arts, sciences, and exploration.

Historic Writing Tools

A collection of historical writing tools, including knives and pencil nippers from the Ottoman and Seljuk eras, is also on display. Among the rare pieces are metal inkwells inlaid with silver and copper from the Seljuk era, antique inkwells from the Byzantine era, and a gold pencil case from the Deccan Sultanates.

These tools highlight the craftsmanship and advanced techniques used by calligraphers throughout history, reflecting the artistic and intellectual richness of their respective eras.

Educational and Cultural Enrichment

The “Treasures of the Library” exhibition aims to ignite a passion for knowledge, preserve cultural heritage, and promote an understanding of human history and culture. By displaying these valuable collections, the exhibition builds a bridge between the past and the present, encouraging visitors to explore historical eras and appreciate humanity’s development.

The exhibition also fosters public interaction with historical collections through periodic exhibitions, cultural events, workshops, and lectures on topics such as Arabic calligraphy, writing and decoration techniques, and manuscript history. These activities allow visitors to engage with experts, enriching their experience and deepening their understanding of history and culture.

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