Sharjah: The ‘Tales from the East’ exhibition of rare books and artefacts worth over Dh60 million was official opened on Tuesday in Sharjah.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the exhibition, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) at its headquarters.
The seven-day event, concluding on May 3, showcases early written material, including books, manuscripts and a collection of rare artefacts.
Following the inauguration, Dr Sheikh Sultan was briefed on the historic items on display and provided with detailed information on the various sections of the exhibition and their valuable contents. The exhibition turns the spotlight on the personal belongings of Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs; and Mohammad Al Murr, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library, and showcases items from the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage.
The exhibition is divided into five sections. The first contains manuscripts of the Quran dating back hundreds of years and reveals the art of transcribing that spanned across centuries. Old paintings and photos of landmarks and cities, including Mecca during the Haj season, and Sharjah and Dubai, can be viewed in the second section.
Maps and globes from the 17th and 18th centuries are on display in the third section, which also houses the Description of Egypt, comprising of 23 volumes, that is a collaborative work between scientists, artists, and technicians who followed Napoleon Bonaparte to Egypt.
The fourth section is home to the first and early editions of manuscripts and famous literary works covering fiction, theatrical works, politics, history and other genres. It also has translations in various languages of the ‘Thousand and One Nights’. The last section showcases a large collection of old paintings and advertisement posters for airlines, railways, tourism and exhibitions from a number of Middle East and North African countries.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, SBA is organising a series of cultural sessions and panel discussions that brings together history and archaeology experts to discuss the role of manuscripts in unveiling the scientific and cultural achievements of humankind, and address the importance of its preservation for future generations.