Sharjah Ruler Sheikh Sultan tours ‘Ziena Splendour of The Indian Courts’ exhibition
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, tours the exhibition Image Credit: WAM

Sharjah: His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, today inaugurated the ‘Ziena Splendor of The Indian Courts’ exhibition organised by Sharjah Museums Authority, in collaboration with Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah in Kuwait, at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.

Upon his arrival, Sheikh Sultan was greeted by Sheikh Salem bin Mohammed bin Salem Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; Sheikha Bibi Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah; Ali Salem Al Thayedi, Consul-General of Kuwait; Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Tourism and Commerce Development Authority; Salem Ali Salem Ahmed Al Muhairi, Chairman of Sharjah City Municipal Council; Aisha Rashid Deemas, Director-General of Sharjah Museums Authority; Dr Mohammad Al-Jassar, Acting Secretary-General of National Council for Culture Arts and Literature, Kuwait; and Essa Abbas Hussain, Director-General of Sharjah Archaeology Authority, as well as a number of officials and art and archeology enthusiasts.

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During the event, the Sharjah Ruler embarked on a comprehensive tour of the exhibition’s curated 84 rare artifacts sourced from the collection of the late Sheikh Nasser Sabah al Ahmed al-Sabah and Sheikh Hessa Sabah al- Salem al-Sabah of Kuwait. This collection, which is scheduled to be on show until April 14, 2024, has been assembled over the decades, spanning from the mid-1970s to the present day.

Sheikh Sultan was briefed on the exhibition’s three sections that collectively house one of the world’s most extensive and prestigious collections of ancient and Islamic art and serve as a testament to the refinement and opulence that characterised the lives, pursuits, and stature of the princes of that era. Furthermore, they showcase the artistic craftsmanship of Indian jewellers who crafted these diverse and exquisite objects during the period spanning the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

During the tour, the Sharjah Ruler observed the aesthetic treasures showcased within the display, which have not only defined the legacy of Indian royal courts over the course of history but also spotlighted the continuous evolution of innovative artistic techniques and developments that have remained hallmarks of Indian arts and crafts throughout the ages.

Rare items

The exhibition features a captivating range of artifacts, including a royal gemstone that carries the largest and oldest royal inscription that bears the name of the Timurid ruler Ulugh Beg, the grandson of Amir Timur (Tamerlane), dated before his death in 1449. It also exhibits a jade pendant commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan during 1637-1638, along with an archery ring attributed to the same emperor during the period of 1651-1652.

Further enriching the display is a collection of jewelled daggers, knives, and swords, complemented by pendants illustrating the advancements in sword and dagger craftsmanship during that era.

More object on view include a saddle ax crafted from jewelled steel, a gem-encrusted shield, ornate domes and shield adornments, ceremonial sceptres, jewelled staff handles, and intricately carved inlaid boxes and vessels and a multitude of objects that depict the harmonious relationship between the arts and palace life in the Indian subcontinent.

This showcase, characterised by its distinguished collections illustrating the life within royal courts of bygone eras, serves as a source of inspiration for creativity and innovation in the realms of art, heritage, and history.

As a concluding highlight of the exhibition’s inauguration, the Ruler of Sharjah accepted a token of appreciation from Sheikha Bibi Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.