Friday, September 21, 2012

A Flying Carpet has Landed at the Louvre !! New Islamic Arts Center

Musee du Louvre- Philippe Rouault
Islamic Arts has a new showcase and it is at the Louvre. This week the Louvre inaugurated its long in coming Islamic Arts department.  As a brainchild of President Jacques Chirac, it took 10 years from the time of inception of the project till its completion.  Architects Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti designed a glass and gold metal canopy reminiscent for some of a  dragonfly wing and for others a flying carpet. The building is located between the ornate and recently restored neo-classical facades of the  Visconti Courtyard and offers 2,800 m2 of exhibit space to house some 3500 works of Islamic art  many of them never exhibited before. The collection spans 12 centuries from the 7th to the 19th centuries and includes mosaic, carpets and textiles, ceramics, glass works, manuscripts and books.  The collection displayed cover  widely diversed islamic cultures ranging from the Egyptian Mamluks to India Mughal dynasty  and from  Iran to  Morocco, Medieval Spain, and Central Asia. The Louvre holds an estimated 14,000 artworks and artifacts many held for centuries in the royal collection among them is the Baptistere of Saint Louis, a 14th century bronze vessel inlaid in gold, silver and nielo used as baptismal font for the royal children since Louis XIII.   Other priceless treasure on display is an Egyptian Mamluk  porch -an ensemble of 300 stones that once formed the entranceway to the home of Mamluk ruler at the end of the 15th century. 
The Islamic Arts center project costs $125 million and was in part financed by the French Government and by governments of countries like Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman and the Republic of Azerbaijan.  
The Louvre Islamic Arts wing opens to the public  this Saturday, September 22. 

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