Sharjah ruler
Sharjah Ruler Dr Sheikh Sultan with Bodour Al Qasimi, Sheikh Salem Khalid Al Qassimi, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Audrey Azoulay, Director General of Unesco after inaugurating the ‘Chapters of Islamic Art: Ettinghausen’s Private Collection of Rare Books' exhibition at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah Image Credit:

Dubai: His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the ‘Chapters of Islamic Art: Ettinghausen’s Private Collection of Rare Books’ at the House of Wisdom, Sharjah.

The exhibition features a fascinating collection of 98 of the rarest and oldest books from the private library of Dr. Richard Ettinghausen and his wife Dr. Elizabeth Ettinghausen — two of the world’s leading historians and scholars from Germany who specialised in Islamic history and art.

The exhibition’s 98 publications are a part of Ettinghausen’s entire private collection of 12,000 books, which was gifted by the Sharjah Ruler to House of Wisdom earlier in August. This includes valuable publications on the region’s art and architecture, many of which are more than 200 years old, and other titles spanning archaeology, travel, history, geography, religion, literature, poetry, palaeography, and more. These books are written in 10 languages including Arabic, English, German, Persian, Japanese, Urdu, French, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, and Italian.

Tour of the landmark exhibition

Dr Sheikh Sultan toured the exhibition, whose offerings of books and artefacts are classified into six zones: Books published or edited by Dr. Ettinghausen; Books on archaeology, travel, history and geography; Books on religion and Islamic art and architecture; Oversized books on various subjects; Books on literature and poetry, manuscripts and Illuminations, palaeography and petroglyphs; and finally, Islamic ceramics, metalworks, textiles, carpets and rugs.

During the tour, His Highness was briefed on House of Wisdom’s plans to make the entire collection accessible online to students, readers, researchers, scholars and historians worldwide. This follows the iconic social hub’s vision to go beyond the limits of place to benefit people wherever they are, and seeks to fulfil the Sharjah Ruler’s vision to make valuable knowledge in sciences, culture history and other fields accessible to all.

More than 11,000 books

Starting with the 98 books that are part of this exhibition, the House of Wisdom team will continue working to include the remaining 11,902 books to their library’s rich digital repository.

The exhibition was unveiled in the presence of Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA); Sheikh Salem Khalid Al Qassimi, UAE’s Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco);Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth; Audrey Azoulay, Director General of Unesco; Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture (SDC); Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director of House of Wisdom.

The House of Wisdom is Sharjah’s new iconic library and cultural centre. It was commissioned in honour of Sharjah winning the esteemed Unesco World Book Capital title for the year 2019. Opening its doors on 9 December 2020, House of Wisdom has since then been offering visitors, students, academic, and businesses a wide array of smart and adaptive facilities, as well as enriching activities and events.

Sharjah Ruler meets with Unesco director general

Meanwhile, Dr Sheikh Sultan received on Wednesday morning at the House of Wisdom, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

His Highness and the Director-General of Unesco exchanged talks on common cultural affairs and the strengthening of areas of cooperation to advance the work of cultural institutions and support writers and intellectuals.

The meeting also touched on the cultural projects implemented by the Emirate of Sharjah in various fields of culture and arts, including cooperation with international and regional cultural organisations and institutions, led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Sultan with UNESCO director general-1638974186035
Dr Sheikh Sultan receives on Wednesday at the House of Wisdom, Audrey Azoulay. Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth is also present. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah Ruler receives IIFA secretary general

Dr Sheikh Sultan also received Wednesday morning Dr. Koutoub Moustapha Sano, Secretary General of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), at Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies (Dara).

His Highness and the Secretary-General of the IIFA conversed on a number of issues of common interest between the two sides, which would enhance cooperation in various fields and contribute to spreading the correct and moderate image of the true Islamic religion.

At the end of the meeting, His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah received a souvenir from the Secretary-General of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.